Brothers facing sex assault trial |

Brothers facing sex assault trial

Chief Deputy District Attorney Joe Kirwan, right, and a member of his staff head into the courtroom for last week's preliminary hearing. Two brothers will stand trial on sexual assault charges stemming from a New Year's Eve party in their father's Bachelor Gulch home.
Jeanelle Thompson|Vail Daily photo |

EAGLE — A pair of teenage brothers will stand trial for allegedly sexually assaulting a teenage girl during a New Year’s Eve party in the brothers’ parents’ Bachelor Gulch home.

Because the accused and the accuser were all younger than 18 years old at the time of the alleged incident, the case is before District Court Judge Fred Gannett, who handles most of Eagle County’s juvenile cases.

The two teen boys and the girl admit having sex. The boys’ attorneys say the girl was a willing participant. Prosecutors say she was sexually assaulted.

At 4:35 a.m., four hours after the incident, the alleged victim’s blood alcohol level was 0.265 following a blood draw at Vail Valley Medical Center. The alleged victim, who lives outside Colorado, was in the area for the holidays.

A group of minors who were with the alleged victim started their New Year’s Eve party at the Ritz Carlton around midnight. A Dial-A-Ride van took several of them to the house in Bachelor Gulch. According to preliminary hearing testimony, the young group had been ejected from the hotel for underage drinking.

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The plot thickens

The teens kept drinking after they arrived, in a large game room in the basement, according to preliminary hearing testimony. Within the hour, two boys accompanied the girl upstairs and into a private massage room, according to preliminary hearing testimony. Eagle County Sheriff’s Detective Aaron Veldheer said he was told by witnesses the girl appeared to go willingly.

Accounts provided by teens who attended the Bachelor Gulch house party stated they took Dial-A-Ride back to the Ritz Carlton, where the alleged victim was united with her mother, who took her to the hospital with concerns about her level of intoxication.

Veldheer was called to the hospital and said he was not planning to interview her at the time, but around 4 a.m. she “started talking.”

Veldheer said the alleged victim told conflicting stories about the incident.

“She was frustrated she couldn’t remember more. She felt she had been given a date rape drug or that she had been given something,” Veldheer said.

The toxicology report revealed there were no traces of any date rape drug in her system, according to testimony.

“To me she looked highly intoxicated,” Veldheer said of his interview with the alleged victim.

That interview took place at the hospital around 6:30 a.m. While the alleged victim was originally taken to the medical center for alcohol intoxication, the hospital is required to report all suspected sexual assaults and called in a sexual assault nurse examiner to administer a test. Results from that test will not be made public until the trial.

In a video interview two weeks later with Detective Carol Waddell, the alleged victim was clear that she didn’t remember the details of the events that night.

The trial is set for January 2017.

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