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Sat, April 20

Chino man who ran from authorities sentenced in child sex case

Robert Joseph Van Gundy

Robert Joseph Van Gundy

A Chino Valley man arrested for crimes against children after fleeing to Florida was on Monday sentenced to 1.5 years in prison followed by 10 years probation.

Robert Joseph Van Gundy was taken into custody Aug. 28, 2013 in Miami, Fla. on an arrest warrant issued after he failed to appear in Yavapai County Superior Court in Prescott.

Van Gundy was indicted on 19 counts in a 2009 case, including luring a minor for sexual exploitation, multiple counts of sexual conduct with a minor, and three counts of luring a minor for sexual exploitation, in connection with two underage boys.

Authorities learned Van Gundy was hiding out in the Miami area with his wife, Arielle, who had been reported missing by her family. They surprised and arrested the couple about 3 p.m. as they walked toward their 31-foot sailboat at Dinner Key Marina, U.S. Marshal's Service spokesman Barry Golden said.

Van Gundy and his wife allegedly drove 3,000 miles across the United States to South Florida, stayed at a Hialeah motel and bought the sailboat for $4,000, Golden said.

On Monday, per the terms of a plea agreement, Superior Court Judge Celé Hancock sentenced him to 1.5 years on the failure to appear charge and ten years probation on two counts of child abuse.

Chief Deputy County Attorney Dennis McGrane, while declining to discuss many of the specifics of decision to offer the plea, said proving the case could have proved problematic.

One of Van Gundy's victims went on to commit sex crimes against a child himself and is now in prison, McGrane said, "and the other victim did not particularly want to testify... we took what we could get under the circumstances of a very, very difficult case."

Van Gundy is already serving time in a federal prison, McGrane said, because agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives found four guns aboard the boat, and charged him with possession of firearms while a fugitive from justice.

McGrane said Van Gundy will be eligible for release in late 2015, and when he's released from the federal prison, will start the 10 years of probation.

Follow the reporter on Twitter @AZNewsguy.

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