Stephen Geisik appears Wednesday in First Judicial Court in Los Alamos. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Caution: The following story includes content which may be disturbing to some readers.
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Former Los Alamos resident Stephen Geisik was released from the Los Alamos Detention Center Wednesday after he was returned to probation by First Judicial District Judge Jason C. Lidyard.
Geisik admitted to violating the terms of his probation on a 2014 case involving two counts of criminal sexual contact with a minor and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The probation violation was in connection with two child abuse charges filed by New Mexico State Police in February 2018 related to conditions at his home.
Assistant District Attorney Kent Wahlquist told the Court that the facts of the underlying conviction for Geisik were essentially that he was 21 years old, he was having parties at his house and that one of the people that would go to these parties was a 12-year old girl.
“The testimony at trial was that after one of these parties, this 12-year old and the defendant basically started a sexual relationship over the next one to two months. She testified that they had sex five to six times, that she was a willing participant in this sex but as a 12-year old legally she couldn’t consent,” Wahlquist said. “She eventually reported this because during the last incident when they had sex, the defendant asked her to engage in anal intercourse, she said no but the defendant did it anyway. That is at what point this 12-year old felt violated enough to tell a friend and then the friend convinced her to go and make a police report.”
Wahlquist said Geisik was interviewed prior to trial and admitted to one sexual encounter with the 12-year old giving details that were consistent with her version of the first time they had sex and that he was convicted after a jury trial. He said at that time the case was assigned to Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer and that after spending some time in custody and being evaluated, Geisik was sentenced 3 ½ years of incarceration for the criminal sexual contact with a minor conviction, the minimum sentence under the law.
“At the time of sentencing he already had 2 ½ years of confinement credit, most of which was on electronic monitoring. At sentencing I asked for the full 31 ½ years he was facing. Judge Marlowe Sommer said that it would be easy for her to send somebody to prison but that’s not why she was elected, and so she instead sentenced him to 3½ years which with 2½ years of credit, that was one year in the County jail. He did not go to the Department of Corrections until this probation violation when he was sent for the 60-day diagnostic evaluation,” Wahlquist said.
Wahlquist told the Court that while Geisik was serving his one year of incarceration, there was an incident report where other inmates complained to the jail about inappropriate sexual comments that Geisik made to them concerning their daughters. He said that’s what Geisik was doing “when he was able to avoid the Department of Corrections the first time, when he was convicted at trial without taking any responsibility for what he did”.
Wahlquist described the circumstances of the probation violation. He said the state of the house Geisik lived in with his young children was appalling to officers.
“There was cat feces spread around. The kids didn’t really have any beds to sleep on. There was urine inside the air conditioning ducts that wasn’t being cleaned up. As they were investigating, they also learned that the defendant was inappropriately punishing the children, locking them up, hitting them with belts, doing things that would constitute child abuse if the state had gone forward. As part of this agreement to admit the probation violation, the state agreed not to push any child abuse charges,” he said.
Wahlquist told the Court that Geisik has some 20 years left to serve but that rather than shooting for the moon for all the remaining time, he asked for hasked for 10 years. He said during a previous hearing Geisik “talked about how he basically again did not take responsibility for what he did”.
“He talked about how he became a father at a very young age in high school basically and he didn’t know how to deal with it and somehow that made it okay for him to have sex with a 12-year old and then not to comply with the conditions of probation. That angered me a lot and I thought about changing my mind and asking for more than 10 years because the idea that having the responsibility of a child will somehow make it okay to rape a child doesn’t make any sense to me. It makes me angry to think about it. I still will stick with my 10 years because that’s what I argued with before and I don’t want to bait and switch anybody,” Wahlquist said.
Geisik’s attorney Val Whitley told the Court that the judge at the time of Geisik’s original sentence, having heard all the facts at trial first hand, chose to sentence him the way she did.
“To say that he escaped the Department of Corrections because he was already in jail – that’s hardly fair to say he escaped corrections when he spend 2 ½ years in jail. He spent more than five years total incarceration including the time he was on an ankle monitor for house arrest,” Whitley said.
He said there has been nothing done as far as violations that related to his original sexual charges. He said he was for 10 years a response attorney for the CYFD cases and that he doesn’t Geisik’s case and the dozens of other cases and that YFD tries to keep the family together even in cases where there are criminal charges.
“CYFD has made no effort in this case and CYFD has an obligation whether the defendant is incarcerated or not,” Whitley said. He said Geisik had PTSD from a difficult childhood where he was abused himself.
“Unfortunately that kind of pattern happens. Ninety percent of people who abuse have been abused themselves. It’s a cycle we try to break. In this case what we have is a house that is not clean and animal feces and very little evidence of perhaps over-disciplinary problems. This can take education,” Whitley said.
He said Geisik had told him he needed to work out how to handle things and that he needs to keep his family together, that he would do anything he can to get out sooner so that he could still have a chance.
“He is going to have a difficult time because the whole time he was sitting up here in the County jail he has not had any contact. From the very first visit to the house they told him to clean it up – he took the kittens to the pound, he cleaned it up the best he could and bought new mattresses, doing the best he could at the time,” Whitley said. He said Geisik had been in total compliance with his probation up to this violation and that he thought the abuse of a child was “overcharged”. He said Geisik is open to being educated on parenting, that he deserves a chance at probation, getting into a class and keeping his family together because he didn’t re-offend.
Whitley said Geisik was being a stay at home dad while his wife worked long hours. He said Geisik was so afraid of violating his probation that he was afraid to even bathe his sons because he was afraid there would be some accusations, that he was paranoid that any of his actions might be construed wrongly.
Geisik took the opportunity to address the Court saying he wanted to “apologize to the young lady that” he hurt, to his wife and to his sons. He said he agreed with the diagnostic evaluation with regards to the problems he has and that he was very honest with the evaluator. He said he needs help to work on his problems but can’t do it on his own.
“I don’t know how to be a good parent. I did not have a great role model myself. As the report states, I want to be a good father. I need help to make that happen. The parenting classes should help. I also want to ask your help your honor. If I go to prison, I know I will lose my family. If you let me back out on probation, you will give me a fighting chance of keeping my family together. I can also then work with CYFD to help keep my family together and take the programs to better me as a person and as a husband and father,” Geisik said. He added that he was doing his best but that he needed more help but was too bullheaded to ask for it.
Judge Lidyard told Geisik it is the responsibility of every adult male in our society to protect and ensure the safety of our young women.
“At the age of 21 when you encountered this young lady at the age of 12, you failed in that responsibility. That was an enormous mistake that you made at the age of 21. I could sentence you to the remainder of your time – the 30 years and you could serve it at a rate of 85 percent. I could send to the duration that the state is asking. You’d be coming out back into society and I’d have to deal with you and have to work with you at some point in time. I’d rather work with you in the state you are in right now than the state that you would be in by 10, 15 years down the line, having served a stint of considerable time in the Department of Corrections and the things that can manifest in one who has to endure the circumstances of every day in that type of custodial setting,” Judge Lidyard said.
He said he believed a lot of the things that had been heard about Geisik over the last few years are “a result of your upbringing”.
“I read a tremendous amount of the circumstances that you had to endure as a child from the individual that’s supposed to be teaching you the responsibility that an adult man is supposed to carry and that’s a shame. It really is that that’s the upbringing that you endured and the lessons that you were taught because it set you on a course to be where you are today,” Judge Lidyard said. “I’m hoping I can do something to change that course. I’m going to do what I can in the way of imposing sentence today to set you off on that course. Where it goes from today I have no control over, only you do, and I need you to make every that you possibly can to make sure that you uphold the responsibilities that you have as an adult man in our society, as a father in our society, as a contributor to the good and wellbeing of us all in the community that you live in and the greater society that we have.”
Judge Lidyard said he was placing Geisik back on supervised probation for an indeterminate period between five and 20 years subject to sex offender conditions and required to be on electronic monitoring. He said he was also requiring Geisik to attend parenting classes at La Cumbre in Espanola, the Albuquerque Sex Offender Program, and re-engage with a psychiatrist to find a medication regimen that works for him. He also ordered that Geisik obtain his GEd at some point during his probation.
“I think it’s important that you begin working on the underlying issues that present with regard to the charges that involved the 12-year old girl as well as the incidences of your most recent probation violation with the children as soon as possible,” Judge Lidyard said. He ordered no alcohol or controlled substances due to indications of propensity to abuse alcohol. He ordered no contact with minors other than Geisik’s own children and that his sex offender registration requirements remain in place.
“One thing that I saw in your statements to your evaluator, is constant paranoia and fear that you’re going to serve the rest of your time and that you’re almost paralyzed in your ability to operate on a daily basis because of this fear. You’re not going to serve the rest of your time because of something that doesn’t rise to the level of requiring it. Something that would require that would be you re-offending and doing something awful like you did to find yourself here in the first place. I need you to take a breath and I need you to realize that you need to take hold of your life and do something with it and if you’re paralyzed because of fear, you’re never going to be able to do it,” Judge Lidyard concluded.