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Jury acquits former LDS branch president accused of biting man’s penis

Posted at 9:45 PM, May 23, 2014

MILLCREEK, Utah -- Not guilty. A former LDS branch president was acquitted Friday on allegations he sexually assaulted a Millcreek family.

Two years ago, police said 48-year-old Efrey Guzman bit a young man on his penis, which required surgery.

Police arrested Guzman two years ago after a Millcreek family who knew him said he forced his way into their home, groped their 13-year-old daughter and sexually assaulted her mother. The mother’s son joined the fight, and that’s when the family claims Guzman bit the young man’s penis.

But over the last five days, Guzman testified in his own defense, saying he was the victim in the incident and the jury believed him.

It’s vindication for a man who lost his job and his position as branch president of a Latino congregation in Sandy.

"I lost the calling, the church released me immediately and my life was totally changed," Guzman said.

He always maintained his innocence and said he never planned to visit the family, who he knew, on August 8, 2012. The mother told police Guzman tried to rape her and was groping her daughter. But Guzman said he was simply attacked and doesn’t know what motivated it.

"I was thoroughly scared," Guzman said.

"Bite marks, here, there and everywhere on his body but there were no other wounds on the other people except for that penis biting," said Bel-Ami De Montreux, Guzman's lawyer.

The woman's son joined the fight, defending his mother.

"There was only one biter that night, the person biting Mr. Guzman, the mother. Our contention which we believed we could prove beyond a reasonable doubt, the mother mistakenly bit the son's penis," De Montreaux said.

Guzman's lawyer said police never gathered DNA evidence and there was no physical evidence to confirm whether the allegations were true, so the jury had reasonable doubt.

During the trial, "I was thinking what kind of motivation did the family had to do this," Guzman said.

Now, this former LDS branch president is just grateful to start rebuilding his life.

"I am happy at the system. The judicial system in this country is wonderful, I believe it," Guzman said.

Guzman remains unemployed, and, while his professional life was ruined, his wife and a couple friends stood by him along with some investigators who helped in this case free of charge because they believed he was innocent.