I have written about Nathan Luong in the past. You can view the story I wrote on August 18, 2023, here. I wanted to provide the readers with an update as Nathan Luong had a Pre-trial hearing today. I was able to observe the hearing via Zoom.
Present in the Zoom call were Judge Robert Docherty, Defense Attorney Scott Lewis, Jill Green, an Attorney for the State, Defendant Nathan Luong, and myself.
The hearing lasted approximately 10 minutes.
Judge Docherty asked the Defense Attorney whether they had any pre-trial issues. The Defense Attorney replied they had no issues but advised Judge Docherty that they were working on a Settlement Conference.
Judge Docherty then asked Prosecutor Green how long she thought the trial would take. She replied “Three days.”
After consultation, Judge Docherty scheduled the trial for May 29-31 with a back-up date of April 10-12.
Prosecutor Green wanted to advise Judge Docherty on the record that the State had offered a Plea deal to the Defense. Green stated the offer was for Luong to plead guilty to one count of Third-Degree Sexual Conduct and he would be sentenced to 120 days in jail, of which 1/2 of the jail time could be waived by the Judge.
Defense Attorney Scott Lewis advised he had not yet seen the offer.
Judge Docherty stated there was plenty of time to reach an agreement and if they did so he could schedule an earlier Hearing. Judge Docherty then adjourned the court session.
Below is a list of the three counts Luong is charged with, as you can see each count contains a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.
I expect Luong to accept the plea deal because, IMO, the evidence against Luong is overwhelming. He would be a fool not to take 60-120 days in jail, avoiding the possibility of 45 years in jail. Realistically I would think if the case proceeds to trial and Luong is convicted my guess is he would receive 5 years per count and the Judge would probably run the three counts concurrently.
Again, IMO, the plea bargain is way too generous, but then I am not an expert in the Law, nor do I know the specifics of the case. Perhaps the Victim is hesitant to testify, but that is conjecture on my part.
The screenshot below is not precise in what it describes as the conduct for Third-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct. The actual Complaint above is accurate. I wanted to post this because I noticed a difference in the registration as a sex offender. Notice the First Degree says “Lifetime registration as a sex offender,” whereas the Third Degree says “Registration as a sex offender,” implying that it’s not a lifetime registration.
Take note of the screenshot below. Pastor Nathan Luong denied all allegations when questioned by police and he signed an affidavit denying the charges. He and his wife have both separately denied the charges are true. This leads me to a question. If Luong signs an affidavit denying all charges and later pleads guilty, can he be charged with perjury? I emailed Ms. Green, the Prosecutor my question and I will let you know if she answers me.
Recently I was emailed the following Facebook post written by Nathan Luong. He has since shut down all his social media accounts, but once something is published on social media there is no reeling it back. I look forward to your comments on his post!
August 28, 2022
A year ago, I never would have expected the trials and challenges that have been put in my path. Over the past year, things have been said about me that are horrible. Lies have been told. Words and actions have been twisted. Some of my own faults, things spoken in confidence, or deeply personal things have been made fully public. My reputation, my intentions, my work, my character has all been put to question. All of that has forced me to a very different place.
Through it all, I’ve wished people would understand something crucial. You can never know the full story of someone’s life. You can never know the choices they’ve had to make. You don’t know the challenges. You don’t the situations or the relationships they have. You can never know the full struggle. If people truly understood that, this past year may have been different.
For example, as write this, it’s 2:00 in the morning. It’s one of my nights to sleep next to my youngest. So I’m on a mattress in the basement with him. He has just had another bout of seizures. About 7 minutes of hell. Violent enough to wake me up. For 7 minutes, I’ve swiped a magnet over his surgically implanted device designed to help stop his seizures. 7 minutes of desperately, helplessly trying to get them to stop, to no avail. 7 minutes of watching painful looks of fear and discomfort in his eyes. But this is not abnormal. Routine actually. For years now, night after night one of us stays with him. I usually spend my nights mostly awake, worrying that one of his seizures may cause him to stop breathing. For 5 years, I’ve been in constant fear that at any moment I could wake in up and he will be gone. So for years we’ve taken turns with him, every single night. We take the night watch so that everyone else can sleep and try to let the fear go for a little bit. But they are nights of actual fear. And even on my off nights, the fear is still there. That paralyzing fear is only one tiny facet of my story.
Some of you may understand that fear. Many of you don’t. If you do, you’ll of be wise enough to know that fear is not the same for everyone. You’ll also know that the pervasive nature of fear and anxiety infects every part of life, in subtle, unexpected ways. You’ll know it never fades. Imagine living every day of your life, waiting for your 5 year old child to stop breathing. Knowing that at moment, they could just be gone. I hope you can’t. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
The fear and anxiety is so overwhelming sometimes that I get physically sick. I have for years. Only once tonight though. But most would never know that. For years that’s been hidden. Just a burden to carry throughout the day while trying to function. Trying to isolate it or bottle it SO that I can still live. But it’s always there, impacting nearly everything we do. Nearly every choice I’ve made has been informed by what was best for my kid, what we needed to do to survive, and maybe even stay a little sane.
I write this, not because I need your sympathy. I don’t actually want it. You can feel free to say what you want about me, I’m over it. But what I need is for you to be better. I need you to be someone in this world that doesn’t drag others down because you don’t understand the full story of someone’s life. I need you to be a person of imagination. One who imagines that people are actually trying as hard as they can. That sometimes people make decisions knowing there is no right answer. One that understands that sometimes, someone’s life can’t actually look normal. Our world is full of people who are eager to break you down. I’ve come to find out that harsh reality of life. Some are so quick to judge without even trying to understand. I’ve come to know that while my story is unique, it is not uncommon.
So instead of being someone my who breaks others down, be better. You have no idea what their world is really like.
Now, I’m going to snuggle my son, try to get some sleep, forget the rest of the challenges for a bit, and try to treasure the moments get with him. I’m not sure how many more I’ll So I’ll take these mostly sleepless moments for the rest of the night as a blessing, because at least I can still hear him breathing.