MADISON — a 37-year-old Battle Creek man was sentenced to a term in the Nebraska Department of Corrections for child abuse.
The charges against Orlan Jaraba Baza go back to at least 2010, when Jaraba Baza had sexual intercourse with the victim, who was a 15-year-old girl, multiple times, according to court documents. Jaraba Baza continued to have sexual encounters with the victim until 2013.
During that period, Jaraba Baza had intercourse with the victim about 50 times, according to court documents.
At the time, Jaraba Baza was living with the victim and her family and was engaged to the victim’s older sister.
Jaraba Baza, formerly an associate pastor at a Norfolk church, maintains that the victim was 16 when they began having sex and that the relationship was consensual. He also said the number of times he had intercourse with the victim was about 25.
Jaraba Baza was originally charged with first-degree sexual assault of a child, but the charges were later amended to child abuse as part of a plea agreement.
Because Jaraba Baza was convicted of child abuse, whether the victim was 15 or 16 does not matter for the purposes of sentencing, said Matthew Kiernan, deputy Madison County attorney.
District Court Judge James Kube asked Jaraba Baza if he thought his actions were OK if the victim was 16 instead of 15.
“I knew that my actions were immoral,” Jaraba Baza said. “It was inappropriate.”
While the victim’s exact age and other details may be in dispute, Kube said one thing was clear.
“You were the adult in this situation. You should have known better,” he said. “You took advantage of a girl.”
Kube also questioned whether the relationship was completely consensual.
“I don’t think this was necessarily a mutual action that took place between you and this 15- or 16-year-old girl multiple times,” Kube said. “There was an incident where she wanted to get away from you, and you kept grabbing her arm. She was scared of you. She felt somewhat trapped in the situation.”
Jaraba Baza said he regrets his actions.
“I am deeply sorry for what I did,” he said. “Since this whole process started, my pastor started counseling me spiritually, about repentance.”
Kube said that while he was glad Jaraba Baza was seeking help through his faith, it does not excuse his actions.
“I appreciate the fact that you have talked to your pastor about it a lot. But that’s different than seeking counseling, than trying to figure out ‘why did I do this?’ You were obviously a person of pretty strong faith before this happened. That faith didn’t stop you,” Kube said. “You have admitted to having sexual relations with her upward of 20 times. I don’t think there’s any reason to excuse your actions.”
Kube sentenced Jaraba Baza to 3 to 5 years in the Nebraska Department of Corrections with credit for 5 days served, a $2,000 fine and court costs.
Kube sentenced others on the following charges:
Third-degree domestic assault
— Scott McDonald, 54, 1810 N. Airport Road, 90 days in jail with credit for 11 days served, $250 fine, costs
Possession of methamphetamine
— Toni Miller, 27, 600 Queen City Blvd., No. 4, 12 months’ probation, 90 days in jail with credit for seven days served, to be served before the end of probation unless waived, costs.
Abuse of a vulnerable adult
— Daylynna Robertson, 49, Oakdale, 12 months’ probation.
Possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, costs
— Brayden Wolff, 19, Stanton, 3 to 5 years in the Nebraska Department of Corrections with credit for 97 days served, costs.
Obstructing a police officer
— Tori Wooters, 24, Madison, criminal impersonation, 12 months’ probation, 90 days in jail with credit for 44 days served to be served before the end of probation unless waived.
— Rachel Church, criminal mischief, attempted failure to appear, 75 days in jail with credit for 98 days served, 12 months’ postrelease supervision, $250 in restitution, costs.
Driving under suspension
— Shannon Boyd, 30, $400 fine, license revoked for 15 years, costs.