[Ed. – Enough to make blood shoot out of your eyes.]
Gerardo Valerio-Romero was in Utah County custody, accused of repeatedly sexually abusing an 8-year-old relative, when he was diagnosed with cancer.
The day after the medical determination, the 49-year-old Mexican citizen was in LDS Hospital receiving cancer treatment, marking the start of an ongoing saga that exposed a rift between the county’s sheriff and its commission as well as medical bills that threaten to top $1 million.
Even at a discount, Valerio-Romero’s cancer treatments have drained the county jail’s medical budget. His case is set for trial early next month, and he’s caught the interest of federal immigration officials who will look at possibly deporting him if he’s acquitted. Until then, he’s in Utah’s court system, where his case is stalled and costs from his treatment continue to climb.
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“It’s a Catch-22,” Sheriff Jim Tracy said.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement placed a detainer on Valerio-Romero when he was arrested in March 2017, meaning ICE asked to be notified when he was convicted or acquitted on six counts of felony aggravated sexual abuse of a child. (He also faces eight felony charges related to forgery and one count of unlawful possession of another person’s identification.)