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A former LDS branch president from Sandy accused of biting another man's penis in a fight apparently wasn't the only one doing the biting, according to his attorney.
Bel-Ami de Montreux told The Tribune on Friday when he first took on his client, Efrey Guzman, 46, he didn't know what to think, but as he looked deeper into the story of the victims, things "just didn't add up."
He said his client is innocent. Guzman remains in the Salt Lake County jail despite having his bail reduced from $300,000 to $100,000 on Friday. On Aug. 8, he was charged in 3rd District Court for aggravated sexual assault, aggravated burglary, both first-degree felonies; and sexual abuse of a child and forcible sexual abuse, both second-degree felonies.
Charging documents state that on Aug 2, Guzman knocked on the door of a home near 4500 South and Gordon Lane (345 East). The woman who answered the door told police that Guzman asked to see her 13-year-old daughter. The woman refused because her daughter had accused Guzman of groping her in May. Guzman then forced his way inside and fought the mother and her 20-year-old son, biting the man's penis in the struggle, charges state. In the charges, the daughter describes Guzman as a "family friend."
But de Montreux said in a statement that Guzman barely knew the family, having offered the mom advice with LDS employment options. The family was not part of his congregation.
De Montreux said Guzman was on his way home when he saw members of the family outside and stopped to say hello.
When Guzman went inside the home, he was "held prisoner" and was attacked when he tried to leave, according to de Montreux's statement.
At some point in the struggle, police were called and found Guzman nearly unconscious on the floor of the home, de Montreux said.
Photos taken after the fight show Guzman was bitten several times on his body, including his shoulders, arms, head, back and legs. Some bites were so deep he was prescribed antibiotics. A few deep bites went through his clothes and tore out chunks of skin. De Montreux said Guzman was defending himself.
Many of the congregation members, family and friends have written statements of support for him and appeared at his bond reduction hearing. One statement from a fellow church member said, "It is totally out of his character to be charged with those horrendous crimes. Efrey is also a student and working hard to complete his graduation with honors."
While charging documents paint one picture, a police report obtained on Friday gives another story of how the incident began.
On Aug. 2, the 13-year-old girl was walking down the street with her grandmother and neighbor when she saw Guzman driving by, according to a police report. The girl ran to her house, without an immediate explanation, locked herself in her room and called police. The neighbor waved Guzman over. He got out of his car and shook the two women's hands and asked about the grandmother's recent surgery. The neighbor told police she later heard screaming and "sent [Guzman] towards the residence to help," according to the police report.
In a previous statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spokesman Scott Trotter wrote the church has no tolerance for abuse and Guzman had been immediately released from his church callings and faced church discipline after the legal process.
De Montreux said Guzman was also kicked out of LDS Business College, where he was taking some courses, for violating the honor code.