Former Partners Volunteer Sentenced for Sexual Assault on a Child
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - The former Partners volunteer who pleaded guilty to multiple charges of sexual assault on a child received his sentence on Thursday.
Mark Bustamante, 51, admitted to sexually assaulting four male victims, some of them through his mentorship in the Partners program, others through family friends.
It was an emotional day in the courtroom as both the victims present and Bustamante himself broke down in tears while recounting the events leading to his sentencing.
Through a psycho-sexual analysis, Bustamante admitted that he joined Partners specifically to have access to young boys.
Victims' family members spoke of him in court as someone who they used to consider family, many of them now referred to Bustamante as a "monster."
Bustamante also addressed the judge asking him for mercy before he shouted across the courtroom, "I'm sorry, forgive me," to the victims and their families.
Through a plea agreement, Bustamante was charged with two counts of sexual assault on a child with a sentence of six years to life in the Department of Corrections for each of the charges.
He is also required to complete sex offender treatment and register himself as a sex offender.
The judge also said Bustamante could not have contact with children under 18 years old and his sentence will be credited 239 days that he has already served.
Through this case many have questioned were asked about the integrity of the Partners volunteer screening process.
"We tried to do what we could with the little bit of information that we had and eventually that's why, in my comments, I mentioned that I was thankful for the youth and families who did come forward because we needed to get this man off streets," Joe Higgins, the Director of Mesa County Partners.
Higgins also tells NewsChannel 5 that due to this case, there has been additional training for parents and children in reporting incidences like these and the Partners Board is currently reviewing their personnel polices as well.