Judge dismisses more than half the charges in sex assault case | VailDaily.com

Judge dismisses more than half the charges in sex assault case

VAIL — A judge dismissed more than half of the 10 charges against four men in a sexual assault case.

However, two of the four will still stand trial on three charges, and the other two on four in connection with happy hour drinking binge that ended with a sexual encounter. The accuser did not report it to Vail police, for more than a week after it happened.

Local defense attorney Jesse Wiens represents one of the accused men.

"Everyone in our criminal system is innocent until proven guilty," Wiens said.

According to testimony, affidavits

Three of the four men, Lewis Ransom, 27, Michael Martin, 31, and Austin Noska, 19, met the accuser on a town of Vail bus headed into Vail Village, about 7:45 p.m., Sept. 29, witnesses testified.

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They went to a Vail Village bar, The George, where they met a fourth man, Ed Dery.

The group left the bar about 10:15 p.m., and took a town of Vail bus back to their Lionshead employee housing complex.

The men had sex with her on the fourth-floor landing of the stairwell, according to testimony.

Prosecutors said the woman was unable to give her consent. The arrest affidavit says all the men had sex with her.

The preliminary hearing for the four men was last week. District Court Judge Paul Dunkelman heard evidence until almost 9 p.m. The judge issued his ruling Thursday.

In issuing his ruling from the bench, Dunkelman said the bar to bind over a charge is set low, and all evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the prosecution.

"There certainly was some contradictory evidence presented," Dunkelman said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.