Former Lawrence orchestra conductor convicted of sex crime involving 15-year-old

A prize-winning orchestral conductor, who formerly worked in Lawrence and attended the University of Kansas, was convicted Tuesday of a sex crime involving a 15-year-old.

Carlos R. Espinosa-Machado, in Douglas County District Court, pleaded no contest to one count of indecent liberties with a child and one count of furnishing alcohol to a minor for illicit purposes, both felonies.

Espinosa-Machado will be required to register as a sex offender for 25 years, effective immediately, Judge Sally Pokorny told him during Tuesday’s hearing. The judge also reminded him that his decision to enter a plea meant he waived his right to have a jury hear his case.

Espinosa-Machado was initially charged with more crimes in the case.

Charges were first filed May 16, 2016, and additional charges were filed on Jan. 2, 2017, according to court documents.

Prior to his plea, the charges against Espinosa-Machado were one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, two counts of criminal sodomy with a child and one count of furnishing alcohol to a minor for illicit purposes, all felonies, plus one count of possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor. According to the first amended charging document, in April and May of 2016 in Douglas County he allegedly had sex and engaged in other sex acts with a victim who was 15 at the time.

About a month after initial charges against him were filed, Espinosa-Machado was 33 and working for the Kansas City Medical Arts Symphony, according to a June 2016 court filing.

During Tuesday’s hearing, prosecutor Alice Walker summarized the state’s evidence against Espinosa-Machado for the counts he was convicted of:

In May 2016, a Eudora police officer approached a vehicle stopped in a city park after dark, when the park was closed. The driver, Espinosa-Machado, told the officer he was waiting to meet his girlfriend.

The girl told police she’d met Espinosa-Machado a few weeks earlier on the social media app Hot or Not, though he used a different name and said he was 21. After she agreed to meet him and told him she was 15, Espinosa-Machado took her to his parents’ house in Lawrence, where he gave her whiskey and they had sex.

Walker said Espinosa-Machado admitted to police that he took the girl to the house, provided alcohol and briefly touched her sexually.

“The victim and her family are ready to move forward and put this behind them,” Walker said.

Espinosa-Machado’s sentencing was scheduled for Sept. 22.

Under sentencing guidelines, he could face up to 136 months in prison and a fine of $300,000 for the indecent liberties conviction and up to 17 months in prison and a fine of $100,000 for furnishing alcohol, Pokorny said.

Espinosa-Machado did not speak during the hearing other than yes and no responses, and his attorney, Branden Smith, declined additional comment after the hearing.

Espinosa-Machado is an assistant professor of visual and performing arts and a symphony orchestra director at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina, a university spokesman confirmed Tuesday. Espinosa-Machado started that job in August 2016, according to the spokesman.

Espinosa-Machado was the winner of the 2013 American Prize in Orchestral Conducting and previously worked as music director of the Kansas City Medical Arts Symphony, associate conductor with the Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City, and conductor in residence and founding member of the Taneycomo Festival Orchestra in Branson, Mo., according to his Elizabeth State biography. He also was an assistant conductor at KU and involved with productions at Lawrence Opera Theater, the Lawrence Arts Center and KU Opera.

According to Journal-World archives, he is a KU alumnus.