Aspen sex crime suspect gets new attorney |

Aspen sex crime suspect gets new attorney

Wyatt Haupt Jr.
Aspen CO, Colorado

ASPEN, Colorado ” A last-minute change in defense attorneys Monday shelved the sentencing hearing of an Aspen resident whose case stems from the alleged false imprisonment of a woman at a local apartment.

Victor Rafael Gonzalez-Rodriguez, 42, pleaded guilty in October to attempt of unlawful sexual contact as part of tentative plea agreement he reached with the district attorney’s office.

In exchange, a false imprisonment count would be dropped.

But when it came time for Senior Judge Thomas W. Ossola of Pitkin County District Court to sentence Gonzalez-Rodriguez, public defender Jim Conway said there had been a change in plans.

Conway deferred to attorney Charles Fagan, who said he was representing Rodriguez-Gonzalez. That led the judge to continue the hearing to Jan. 12.

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Ossola was sitting in for Judge James Boyd, who was not able to attend Monday because of a death in his family.

Gonzalez-Rodriguez was arrested Aug. 18, a day after he allegedly detained a woman who was visiting a male friend at an Aspen apartment complex.

The woman, who had been drinking with her friend Aug. 16, said she was going out in the early morning hours of Aug. 17 and left the apartment, though it was not clear why, according to police at the time.

A few minutes later, her friend became concerned and went looking for the woman. He said he heard cries of, “No, No!” coming from a nearby apartment. The man entered the apartment unit, where he said that he saw Rodriguez-Gonzalez trying to take advantage of the woman.

Police were called to the scene about 2:50 a.m. The following day, Aug. 18, Rodriguez-Gonzalez was arrested and booked on false imprisonment and attempted unlawful sexual contact.

He has been locked up since the arrest at the Pitkin County jail, where he is being held on $3,000 bond. Rodriguez-Gonzalez also has a hold from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In other court news, Bartolo Mendoza of Carbondale was advised by Ossola of multiple counts against him stemming from an alleged kidnapping Dec. 7. If convicted, Mendoza faces more than 10 years in state prison.

He was arrested about 3 a.m., Dec. 7, in Aspen after he allegedly kidnapped a woman outside of Club Chelsea. Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin said Mendoza “was driving around Aspen” and would not let the victim out of the car.

Mendoza, who is free on $10,000 bond, faces offenses ranging from false imprisonment to second-degree kidnapping. His next hearing is set Jan. 5.

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