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Repeat offender gets life terms

For sexually victimizing teens

by: Submitted photo - Salvador Michael Herrera

A Madras man who had been convicted and sentenced for numerous rapes of teenage girls over the past 12 years was sentenced to life in prison Sept. 21.
   Salvador Michael Herrera, 32, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, Class B felonies, second-degree sexual abuse, a Class C felony, and attempting to commit second-degree sexual abuse, a Class A misdemeanor. He pleaded no contest to third-degree rape, also a Class C felony.
   The new crimes, which involved girls ages 13, 14, 15 and 17, took place between July 1 and July 16, 2011, according to Jefferson County District Attorney Steve Leriche. The victims were not related to Herrera, who is commonly known as "Bud."
   "He was going to locations where minors were hanging out and trying to hold himself out as being 19 years of age," said Leriche, noting that Herrera was reported to have given one of the teens a white powdery substance for snorting. "There was alcohol present at some of these parties."
   Chief Deputy District Attorney Sheryl Blackman prosecuted the case, but Leriche said that he had previously prosecuted Herrera in 2000, 2002, and 2006 for similar crimes.
   In May 2006, Herrera was convicted of third-degree rape -- sexual intercourse with a teenager under age 16 -- and first-degree burglary, and sentenced to 45 months in prison. He received an additional 25 months when he was released and violated probation. In March 2011, he was released and had absconded from post-prison supervision when he was arrested.
   Herrera had also been convicted of third-degree rape in 2002, for which he served 24 months, and third-degree rape in 2000, for which he served 15 months in prison.
   "The way Salvador Herrera chose to live his life was pretty sad," said Leriche, adding that Herrera had gotten probation for third-degree assault and unauthorized use of a vehicle in 1999.
   Under Oregon Revised Statutes -- specifically ORS 137.719 -- for certain sex offenders, a third felony sex offense can result in life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, Leriche said, explaining that it's "kind of like a third strike" law.
   "Mr. Salvador Herrera was prosecuted multiple times for raping in the third degree; each time he did it, his sentence was increased," the district attorney pointed out.
   Blackman added that the law states that life in prison is the "presumptive" sentence, and a judge would have to find a "substantial and compelling reason not to impose that."
   "He had been repeatedly advised that if he were to engage in this type of conduct again, he would be facing a life sentence," Leriche continued. "He failed to follow those warnings and engaged in multiple sexual offenses with minors ranging in age from 13-17. He appears to be fixated on this age group and the court sentenced him under the law to life without the possibility of parole, and the court did so on four counts."
   "When you look at his continuous and persistent involvement for over a decade of having sex with teenagers, and never being rehabilitated, it is clear it would have gone on again," said Leriche.
   The life sentence is the first in the county under the statute, and the first life sentence since 2005, when a Crooked River Ranch man, Curtin Crawford, was sentenced to life in prison, with a 25-year minimum, for the murder of a neighbor.
   Herrera was represented by Attorney Susan Goolsbee, of Bend, who has already notified the court that she intends to file an appeal.