Jose Argueta

A Woodstock man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a man entrusted to his care, according to District Attorney Shannon Wallace.

Jose Jaimie Argueta, 46, from Woodstock, was convicted of false imprisonment and aggravated sodomy charges, and sentenced on July 22.

Argueta was providing basic care for a man with "physical limitations," the district attorney's office reported.

May 24, 2020, Argueta forced the man into his bedroom and performed sex acts on the man against his will for approximately 45 minutes, prosecutors said.

The victim was eventually able to get to a neighbor’s residence for assistance and the neighbor called 911. The victim was transported to an area hospital for evaluation and treatment.

During the jury trial, which ended on June 30, prosecutors presented evidence that Argueta forcefully sodomized the victim and that the actions were not consensual. Seven witnesses testified, including Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) from LiveSafe Resources who evaluated the victim and documented the injuries he sustained.

“Through our collaboration with LiveSafe Resources, as well as the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, we were able to conduct a thorough investigation and present a compelling case to the jury,” said Assistant District Attorney Leyna Pope, who prosecuted the case. “The defendant took advantage of this fragile victim, leaving him frightened, in pain, and desperately needing help.”

The victim told investigators with the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office that despite his best efforts, because of his physical limitations, he did not have enough strength to defend himself during the assault.

At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing conducted on July 22, Chief Judge Ellen McElyea sentenced Argueta to serve 40 years in prison with no possibility of parole, followed by lifetime probation. During probation, Argueta will be subject to sex offender special conditions and may have no contact with the victim.

“The crime that Argueta committed on May 24, 2020, is nothing less than despicable. It’s horrifying to imagine the depth of betrayal and humiliation this victim felt after being hurt in this way by someone he once trusted,” said District Attorney Shannon Wallace. “We are grateful for the Cherokee County jury who endured the graphic evidence and testimony presented during this case. Their verdict ensures that Jose Jaime Argueta will spend decades in prison for his crimes and will not be able to harm another innocent victim.”

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Shannon Ballew is the managing editor at the Cherokee Tribune and the Cherokee Ledger-News. She is a graduate of Young Harris College and lives in unincorporated Woodstock.

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