George Tiba
George Tiba

George Tiba, who fled to California on the last day of a trial in which a Boulder jury convicted him of sexually assaulting a 22-year-old woman, was sentenced Friday to 36 years to life in prison.

Tiba, 49, was convicted in December of two counts of sexual assault, one count of second-degree burglary and one count of theft after a jury found that he sexually assaulted and stole from a woman he met at Boulder's Walrus Saloon in February 2013.

The victim was found to be too drunk to consent to sex.

On Dec. 13, the last day of testimony in his trial, Tiba, who was free on $50,000 bond, fled Colorado. He was apprehended six days later in San Francisco.

At Friday's sentencing hearing, prosecutor Katharina Booth said Tiba has a pattern of lying: She said he did not have a clear employment history despite claiming he was gainfully employed; and she cited evidence on his cell phone that he lied and cheated on his now ex-wife. Booth indicated that Tiba may even by lying about his own name, noting that in recent talks she has had with U.S. immigration officials, she learned his real name may be George Engwong or Engwang, and he may be from Nigeria, and not Uganda.

"The defendant's deception, of course, continues and is most blatantly absurd and offensive when he continues to assert that the sexual conduct in this case was consensual," Booth said.

The victim, who now lives out of state, did not attend the hearing in person, but she wrote a letter that Booth read aloud in the hearing.

Part of it addressed Tiba directly.

"You may have taken advantage of me when I was weak and vulnerable, but you know what? This last year has taught me that I am strong and I am brave and I am decent," Booth read. "You are the weak one. You are a coward and a sad excuse for a human being."

Tiba was not without his supporters Friday, with the daughter of his girlfriend saying he was a good man who never acted violently.

His attorney, Kathryn Herold, asked that Tiba receive a community corrections sentence that would keep him out of prison.

But Judge Andrew Macdonald sided with prosecutors.

"You are a coward, and today you are going to be held accountable," Macdonald said.

The jury found that Tiba sexually assaulted the victim twice in her home, stole some of her property and took sexually explicit pictures of her while she was incapacitated.

Under Colorado law, sex offenders are subject to indeterminate sentencing, whereby they may be kept in prison until they complete a treatment program.

Tiba, who in the sentencing hearing maintained he is not a bad man, did not react emotionally when he was led away by Boulder County sheriff's deputies to begin his prison term.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Joe Rubino at 303-473-1328 or rubinoj@dailycamera.com.