Man accepts plea without sexual element

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SUBLETTE COUNTY – The Nevada man charged with alleged sexual battery of a young woman camped at Fremont Lake during the 2021 Sailing Regatta, changed his plea in an agreement with no mention of the previous sexual element.

Gavin A. Respini, of Las Vegas, had pleaded not guilty in Sublette County Circuit to two misdemeanor charges of sexual battery and his jury trial was set for Nov. 7, then delayed.

is charged with allegedly fondling and sexually touching the woman, a Pinedale resident who spoke to deputies and traveled to St. John’s Medical Center for a DNA test. The woman said she screamed, the man later identified as Respini left and her friends followed him, records show.

It was later revealed the DNA matched Respini’s, court records show.

After his not guilty plea, Judge LaBuda released Respini on his own recognizance. He is represented by private attorney Rives White, a former associate of LaBuda. Sublette County Deputy Attorney Damon DeBernardi  determined there was no conflict of interest.

The case was continued again and a Dec. 19 status hearing was rescheduled for Jan. 2.

The same day, Respini’s charge was filed as one misdemeanor of unlawful contact, touching the woman in a rude, insolent or angry manner, with a maximum penalty of 6 months in jail and a $750 fine.

On Jan. 2, Respini was arraigned in that charge and pleaded guilty. After Jessica Piper Hewitt gave her victim impact statement, Judge LaBuda determined Respini was a “first offender” and eligible for a deferred conviction, records show.

The judge placed Respini on three years of unsupervised probation and ordered him to pay $270 in costs and fees plus $3,413.35 restitution to the Division of Victim Services for Hewitt’s medical expenses incurred from her hospital visit.