Albany County Man Denies Sexually Abusing Teenage Boy
A man who prosecutors say should spend the rest of his life in prison for allegedly sexually abusing a teenage boy at a cabin in Jelm denied the charge Wednesday in Albany County District Court.
Kenneth Matthew Lovato, 51, pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree. Since Lovato was twice previously convicted of the same crime in New Mexico and California, prosecutors will try to send him to prison for the rest of his life without the possibility of parole through a sentencing enhancement available under Wyoming statute.
Albany County Sheriff's deputies arrested Lovato July 13 after the victim told deputies Lovato gave him drugs and alcohol and then sexually abused him July 10, according to court documents.
The affidavit says Lovato gave the victim vodka and pills described as "baby oxy" before allegedly abusing the victim.
Investigating deputies found evidence at both Lovato's cabin in Jelm and the victim's home, according to the affidavit.
Judge Jeffrey Donnell on Wednesday set Lovato's four-day trial for Jan. 16-19.
Defense attorney Randy Hiller asked Donnell to modify Lovato's $50,000 cash bond to cash or commercial, saying Lovato has previously attended all hearings in Albany County District Court.
Prosecutor Kurt Britzius objected to any modification, citing the serious nature of the allegations.
"He was a registered sex offender at the time of this offense," Britzius told the court. "He is a flight risk, given what he has to lose."
Donnell refused to modify Lovato's bond, but said he had other concerns besides the potential flight risk.
"I have no problem at all saying I am very much concerned about issues of public safety," Donnell said.