A former high-profile member of the community who was charged with sexually abusing a mentally handicapped woman was sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison for the offense last week.
According to a mental health evaluation done prior to sentencing, however, this may not be the first time he’s been accused of being sexually inappropriate with someone.
Michael Allen Mack, 70, appeared in District Court Friday morning to be sentenced on a single charge of attempted sexual assault, a category B felony.
He was first arrested in the case in April 2013 along with co-defendants Albert Gatzke, 81, and George Quiroga, 65, after the victim was taken to the Nye County Sheriff’s Office by two family friends to tell police of the alleged abuse she was suffering.
Mack was initially charged with two counts of sexual assault, preventing or dissuading a victim from reporting a crime, commencing prosecution or causing arrest, unlawful contact with a person with mental illness and abuse of a vulnerable person before taking a plea deal in the case in December.
Prior to sentencing, Mack was required to undergo a psychosexual evaluation to determine whether or not he was at risk to re-offend. According to the court, Mack was determined to be a high risk to re-offend if let back out into the community.
“He’s not even eligible for probation because he came back as a high risk to re-offend,” Deputy District Attorney Timothy Treffinger said. “He came back as a man who said he has no need for counseling or other treatment. They found him as someone who minimizes what he’s done, has no remorse and has devious sexual tendencies.
“This is a man who poses an extreme risk to society and he’s a danger to adults and juveniles and anyone who is around him. And just because he hasn’t gotten caught until the age of 70, he does have other allegations sitting out there in New Jersey, he has a dishonorable discharge from the military that’s potentially sexually related and there were other allegations even here in Pahrump that were sexually related.”
Presiding Judge Kimberly Wanker told Mack she was deeply concerned after reading his evaluation. Not only did he place blame on the victim for what had happened, but she said he attempted to minimize what he had done with a 45-year-old woman he told police had the mental capacity of a 3- or 4-year-old child.
“The evaluator said ‘Mr. Mack made no effort to express any genuine remorse or guilt concerning his actions with (the victim), who reportedly has a history of being taken advantage of by men in her life due to her disability. The evaluator suspects Mr. Mack’s deviant sexual interests involve males or females and that he preys upon individuals with disabilities and weaknesses, which may be part of the arousal aspect for him along with selecting victims who can be easily manipulated and are less likely to report and or be believed if they were to report,’” Wanker read directly from the report.
“While you admitted it, you minimized it, which is exactly what sex offenders do. You’re trying to blame (the victim), when at the time you were arrested you admitted she had the mentality of a 3- or 4-year-old… That is serious to me. You’ve been an active leader in this community, but community leadership and what goes on behind the scenes are two different things, and that does not in any way excuse your behavior.”
Mack’s attorney Tom Gibson said while the charges against his client were serious, he would like the judge to take into consideration Mack’s service to the Pahrump community and the fact that he had no prior criminal history while deciding his sentence.
“He has a lot of community support, I’m sure your honor received a number of letters of support from people who wish to see Mr. Mack do well and obviously they don’t want to see him go to prison for an extended period of time,” Gibson said. “We feel the recommendation by the department of parole and probation is a little harsh because of his lack of record and also because of his involvement in the community. Therefore we ask the court to sentence him to the minimum of two years.”
When given the chance to address the court on his own behalf, Mack said he knew what he did was wrong, but told the judge that the victim was the one who had come onto him, and that he was not the only one who had had inappropriate relations with her.
Wanker ultimately sentenced Mack to spend 96 to 240 months, or eight to 20 years, in prison.
As a tier 3 convicted sex offender, the highest risk level in Nevada, Mack will be required to be on lifetime supervision. He was also ordered to have no further contact with the victim and advised he should no longer be allowed to work as a volunteer with churches or other organizations where he may have access to young or vulnerable people.
“Mr. Mack I have to tell you, while you may have minimized this, I did not. I think this is very, very serious what you did. It’s inexcusable,” Wanker said.
Mack’s co-defendant Quiroga is scheduled to be sentenced later this year. His other co-defendant, Gatzke, was rushed to a Las Vegas area hospital last year after he leaped from a second story railing inside the Nye County Detention Center in an attempted suicide. Charges against him are reportedly being withdrawn.