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Father's battle to regain bail money remains stalled

A Central Point father continues his fight for bail money posted more than a year ago on behalf of his son who pleaded guilty to multiple counts of rape earlier this year — and now faces new sexual assault charges.

"We should be able to bail our sons and brothers and family members out of jail and not have them (Jackson County courts) keep the money," said Kent Gutches.

In September 2009, Brad Gutches, 27, pleaded guilty to three forcible rape charges stemming from incidents that occurred with two separate underage victims. He is serving an 11-year sentence handed down by Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Ron Grensky.

Brad Gutches is scheduled to go to trial on Dec. 15 on three new charges — a single count of first-degree rape and two counts of second-degree sexual abuse — related to an alleged third victim.

If he is found guilty of the Measure 11 rape charge, it could add another eight years to his sentence, said Senior Deputy District Attorney David Hoppe.

Kent Gutches, 50, says his son made every court appearance in the first rape case, the criminal matter for which he posted $100,000 bail. Since that case is now resolved, the money should be returned, he said.

Instead, Kent Gutches said his money is being held hostage by overstepping judges who are keeping the funds for payouts in pending civil cases filed by his son's victims, and for future alleged victims.

"Lawyers and judges, they can just change things to the point where you can't even recognize what the law was set out to be," he said.

Under Oregon law, all bail in criminal cases is viewed as the defendant's money regardless of who posts it. The bail notice clearly states the person posting security may not see the money again for a variety of reasons, as the bail funds may be applied to the defendant's unpaid fines, costs, assessments, restitution and other judgments and child support arrears.

The $100,000 is being held under an injunction issued by Judge Phil Arnold on behalf of Brad Gutches' victims in a civil case. Motions to have the money returned already have been denied by Arnold and by Judge Dan Harris.

Brad Gutches was arraigned in June before Judge Tim Barnack via video from an Eastern Oregon prison on the new charges stemming from an alleged incident that occurred in May 2007. Two hours after his son appeared before Barnack, Kent Gutches appeared before Judge Ron Grensky and asked that the bail money be returned.

Attorneys representing the victims filed a lawsuit alleging Kent Gutches had committed fraud in his representation regarding the origin of the money.

Kent Gutches testified that $40,000 of the $100,000 was his money, $10,000 came from his other son, and $50,000 was put up by his brother.

Kent Gutches has filed a civil lawsuit against his own son in an attempt to protect his assets and gain first-priority legal standing to the bail money.

Gutches said the courts had failed him, and if he'd been told "for one second" that he would not have his money returned, he would never have bailed out his son. He said legal battles have cost him tens of thousands of dollars. But regardless of the outcome of his son's new charges, he will not stop fighting for the bail money's return, Kent Gutches said.

"It doesn't really matter what it costs me," he said. "I can't let them have the money."

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.