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Sept. 22 competency hearing set for Cedar Rapids man facing 3 sex assault trials
He was convicted last year in assault, filming of incapacitated Iowa City woman
A Cedar Rapids man was convicted last year for repeatedly sexually assaulting an incapacitated 19-year-old woman in 2018 after meeting her in an Iowa City bar and then video recording the attack on his cellphone.
The woman, during the sentencing of Carlos Allen Hivento, 32, said she had been drinking with friends at home Nov. 18, 2018, and then they went out to the downtown bars, drinking more. Hivento found her alone outside and dragged her into a stairwell and filmed the assault.
The woman said she didn’t remember much but recalled hitting her head on something sharp. When she woke up, she didn’t know where she was, and there was a bright light shining in her eyes, and she realized Hivento was filming her.
During her victim impact statement, the woman said she managed to get her clothes on and get out of the hotel where she found herself. Police took her to the hospital, where a rape kit was collected. Doctors found bite injuries on her body and bruises down her back from where she’d been shoved down on stairs.
A Johnson County jury convicted Hivento in July 2021 of five felony counts of third-degree sexual abuse and two counts of invasion of privacy, aggravated misdemeanors. He was sentenced to 34 years in prison.
The investigation into that woman’s assault led to three other women telling police Hivento had sexually assaulted them outside downtown Iowa City bars in 2017 and 2018. One of the women said she was incapacitated and that Hivento filmed the sex acts with his cellphone. Another said Hivento gave her a drink and she blacked out but someone else witnessed the sexual assault.
Hivento was charged in those three assaults.
He also faces two drug charges stemming from the first sexual assault investigation, when Johnson County jailers found cocaine in his shirt pocket, according to a criminal complaint.
What’s happened since
Hivento’s three other sexual abuse trials have been delayed because he changed lawyers and one of his previous lawyers, Eric Tindal, asked the court in November 2021 to order a competency evaluation of Hivento.
Sixth Judicial District Andrew Chappell ordered that evaluation at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville. Hivento didn’t cooperate with the psychiatrists there on two occasions and the evaluation couldn’t be completed.
Tindal then asked to have Hivento evaluated by an independent evaluator.
Chief Judge Chad Kepros denied the motion, ruling that Hivento should cooperate with the psychiatrists at the Coralville prison or be face a contempt of court charge. He set another competency hearing for Dec. 13, 2021.
Tindal renewed his motion for the independent evaluation of Hivento.
In the motion, Tindal said Hivento appears to have a “significant” mental health illness, which prohibited him from participating and assisting in his own defense. When Tindal and another defense lawyer talked to him, Hivento couldn’t comprehend the nature of the charges, the proceedings or control his behavior, he said.
Hivento’s behavior and actions during his first trial caused the defense lawyers to make repeated requests for a mistrial and to request a competency determination mid-trial, Tindal said. Hivento’s “yelling disruptive behaviors” in front of the jury during that trial and his “delusions of malice and unshakable belief in conflict” are all examples of how he could not assist in his defense, Tindal added.
In the motion, Tindal also asked to withdraw from the case because Hivento had stated his goal was to become competent to stand trial so he could fire his lawyers.
Judge Kevin McKeever granted the motion. Hivento did change attorneys, and the competency hearing was rescheduled several times.
The independent evaluation was conducted in August, and the competency hearing will be Sept. 22 in Johnson County District Court.
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