Basalt massage therapist arrested for alleged sexual assault of a client
Basalt police arrested a midvalley massage therapist Wednesday on suspicion of sexual assault on a client and two related charges.
Nathaniel D. Gordon, 47, who resides in New Castle and works in Basalt, was held in Eagle County Jail over the holiday weekend and advised of the charges in Eagle County Court on Monday.
He was arrested for sexual assault, a class four felony; sexual contact, no consent, a class one misdemeanor; and invasion of privacy, a class two misdemeanor.
The incident allegedly occurred Nov. 22 with a female client at a Basalt business where Gordon has worked as a subcontractor.
“It stemmed from a massage and went much farther than that,” Basalt Police Lt. Aaron Munch said.
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Basalt police made the arrest Wednesday after investigating the alleged victim’s information from earlier in the week. An affidavit in support of the warrantless arrest was sealed from public scrutiny on request by 5th Judicial District Attorney Heidi McCollum.
At the advisement Monday, Judge Rachel Olguin-Fresquez said if Gordon is convicted, the felony charge has a possible sentence of four to 12 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections and possibly a life sentence if it is determined there are aggravated circumstances. The sentence on the felony charge could also include a fine of up to $750,000.
If convicted of the alleged sexual contact, Gordon could be sentenced to 24 months in the county jail. Olguin-Fresquez said the third charge stemmed from the allegation that Gordon “knowingly observed or photographed a person’s intimate parts.” If convicted on that charge, he could face one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
In the hearing Monday, Deputy DA Johnny Lombardi sought a $50,000 cash surety bond.
“In this matter here, Your Honor has read the (arrest) affidavit so I’m not going to go into any further detail about that, but I think Your Honor can see the heinous nature of the crime that was committed on the sex offense upon the victim in this case,” Lombardi said.
Gordon has only a “limited criminal history” with a deferred judgment in a 2011 case involving marijuana cultivation in Eagle County, Lombardi said. However, because of the potential prison time he is facing, the DA’s Office felt a $50,000 bond was appropriate.
Gordon’s attorney, Erik Johnson, said $50,000 was “too elevated” and he asked for a personal recognizance bond. Johnson said Gordon has a wife, two children and has been a business owner in Eagle County for more than 10 years. The $50,000 bond being sought by the DA’s Office is more “pre-trial punishment” than an attempt to ensure Gordon appears in court, Johnson alleged.
“He’s got to resume work and prepare to defend himself for this trial, so we would ask for a PR bond,” Johnson said.
Olguin-Fresquez said the court would not typically grant a PR bond in this type of case but because certain reports didn’t reach her within 48 hours of Gordon’s arrest, a $25,000 personal recognizance bond was legally authorized. Gordon didn’t have to put up cash but he is liable for $25,000 if he fails to appear for future court appearances.
The bond conditions included a protective order banning Gordon from any contact with the alleged victim, who was identified only by her initials. He is also banned from practicing massage.
When the judge asked if he had any questions, Gordon replied, “So, I do massage for work and I do have a mortgage to pay. Is there no way where you can modify (the bond conditions) so I can work on my male clients?”
“Not at this time,” Olguin-Fresquez said. However, she said she would consider a written motion from Gordon’s attorney proposing protective measures that could be implemented if he resumed massage. A representative of the Eagle County Detention Center said Gordon would be released later Monday.
The 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and Basalt Police Department are continuing a criminal investigation. “If anyone has any information about the crime alleged in this case or if anyone is a victim of a similar crime, please contact the Basalt Police Department (970-927-4316) or the District Attorney’s Office (970-328-6947), or email email@example.com,” said a news release from the DA’s office.