Man pleads guilty, sentenced in assault

Pablo Guzman-Corona, who has been turned over to immigration authorities, grabbed and hugged a woman in the Eastgate area.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man has pleaded guilty to grabbing and hugging a woman he encountered while in the Eastgate area in May.

Pablo Guzman-Corona, 36, of 717 N. Seventh Ave., entered the guilty plea Wednesday in Superior Court to the charge of third-degree assault.

Judge John Lohrmann then sentenced Guzman-Corona to 90 days -- which he had already served -- in the County Jail.

Guzman-Corona wasn't released, however, because he was turned over to immigration authorities.

The sentence Lohrmann imposed is the high end of the one- to three-month standard range for third-degree assault. Lohrmann also placed Guzman-Corona on 12 months of community custody, a form of probation.

Guzman-Corona had been charged with a more-serious felony, indecent liberties -- forcible compulsion, alleging he caused the woman to have sexual contact with him. But the charge was reduced in exchange for his guilty plea.

Officials said he was riding in a van on Ash Street near Melrose Street the afternoon of May 6 when he saw the 19-year-old woman walking and asked the driver to pull over.

According to the woman, Guzman-Corona got out of the van, touched one of her breasts, asked if she wanted marijuana or money for sex and started rubbing her body. He then grabbed her "like a hug" and started kissing her neck, according to a police report filed in court.

Guzman-Corona left in the van when a male witness approached. The witness wrote down the vehicle's license plate number, which led authorities to the identification of Guzman-Corona as a suspect the following day.

He was arrested after an interview with police and after he was positively identified by the woman, officials said.

Guzman-Corona said he contacted her because he thought she was beautiful and claimed she was happy with the contact, according to the police report.

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