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2 men plead guilty in sex assault case

<p>George Quiroga</p>

George Quiroga

<p>Michael Mack</p>

Michael Mack

Two men accused of sexually abusing a 45-year-old mentally disabled woman took plea deals in their criminal cases last week just before the first trial was set to begin Monday.

George Quiroga, 65, and Michael Mack, 70, appeared in District Court on Thursday and Friday respectively to enter guilty pleas to a single charge each in exchange for multiple other charges being dismissed.

Quiroga reportedly pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful contact with a person with mental illness, a gross misdemeanor.

The following day his co-defendant Mack pleaded guilty pursuant to Alford, a plea defendants sometimes use in place of a guilty plea when they do not necessarily wish to admit guilt, but realize the state has enough evidence to convict them at trial. He pleaded to a single count of attempted sexual assault, a Category B felony.

Mack could potentially face a maximum of 20 years in prison for the offense at sentencing.

The two men were arrested in April along with co-defendant Albert Gatzke, 81, after the victim, whom police are calling “Courtney,” was taken to the Nye County Sheriff’s Office by two family friends to tell police of the alleged abuse she was suffering.

When a detective interviewed Mack about the allegations, the man allegedly confessed to engaging in numerous sex acts with the victim over the last decade.

Further investigation into the case then led police to Quiroga, who they say also admitted to having sexual relations with the mentally disabled woman.

Mack was then charged by the Nye County District Attorney’s Office with two counts of sexual assault, preventing or dissuading a victim from reporting a crime, commencing prosecution or causing arrest, and unlawful contact with a person with mental illness and abuse of a vulnerable person. Quiroga was charged with sexual assault, unlawful contact with a person with mental illness and abuse of a vulnerable person.

Quiroga was later released from custody on a medical release.

Gatzke, who was charged with two counts of sexual assault, was also released from custody after he was rushed to a Las Vegas area hospital earlier this year when he leaped from a second story railing inside the Nye County Detention Center in an attempted suicide.

Mack and Quiroga were set to stand trial separately, with one trial beginning this week and the other to start when that one finished next week. Their cases were severed at a motion hearing last month.

Now that both Mack and Quiroga have entered pleas, their trials have been vacated and the co-defendants are scheduled to be back in court on March 21 for sentencing.

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