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Man accused of sexual assault at fraternity house near USU pleads guilty to lesser charges

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Posted at 7:45 PM, Feb 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-04 11:01:01-05

LOGAN, Utah – A man accused of raping two women at a fraternity house near the Utah State University campus has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in the case.

Jason Relopez has been in jail since July after he was accused of violent sexual assaults against two women at a Sigma Chi fraternity house. One alleged incident occurred in October 2014 and the second in July 2015.

Relopez pleaded guilty Tuesday to attempted rape as a first-degree felony and attempted forcible sexual assault, which is a third-degree felony.

A video from an August court appearance stoked controversy, as the man’s attorney said: “…regret the next day of doing something stupid when you're drunk doesn't make rape, and it doesn't make aggravated sexual assault."

Prosecutors said they will seek jail time in the case. Barbara Lachmar, a deputy Cache County Attorney, said the two alleged victims were glad to see the plea deal made.

“This is a very private trauma that they have suffered, and so it's very difficult for them to come forward,” she said. “I was so proud of them, they showed great courage, and I think they were relieved and very pleased with the outcome of this plea agreement."

Statutory guidelines for attempted rape, the more serious of the two charges, is three years to life in prison. The lesser charge, attempted forcible sex abuse, carries a maximum of 5 years in prison, but attorneys said Relopez is likely to serve the sentences for both charges concurrently.

Relopez is scheduled to be sentenced on March 29th. As part of the plea deal, Relopez will be required to register as a sex offender.