Local man pleads guilty to sexual assault
EAGLE — Lawrence Durance told the judge he understood exactly what he was doing when he pleaded guilty Monday morning to sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust.
Durance, 70, admitted to the Class 5 felony, and voluntarily turned himself in at the Eagle County jail following his appearance in District Court. He was free on $5,000 bond. He’s back in court at 10 a.m. Nov. 3 for sentencing.
What he admitted to
Durance admitted to investigators that he fondled his victim between 10 and 50 times, over approximately six months. The child was between 3 and 4 years old at the time.
He told investigators he was “sick in the head,” and stopped because he wanted to be a good father to his children.
What police say happened
Durance was arrested following an investigation by Eagle County Sheriff’s Detective Karen Waddell.
Waddell was notified by Martha Stanton, a Garfield County Health and Human Services caseworker, of allegations of sexual abuse by a therapist in Eagle County.
Stanton said that Durance had sexually abused his victim when she was between the ages of 3 and 4 years old. The child is now a teenager.
Tracey Branch, a forensic interviewer, spoke with the child at the Riverbridge Center in Glenwood Springs. The child explained that she had told her therapist that Durance had “sexually molested” her. She described the incident as more of an image in her mind, according to Durance’s arrest affidavit.
Detective Waddell contacted Durance and asked him to come to the Sheriff’s Office for an interview.
Waddell advised Durance of his Miranda rights, which he initialed and signed. Durance then agreed to talk to the detective about it.
He said he rubbed the child’s back, buttocks and between her legs with his hand. In his affidavit, he said he did not penetrate the child.
Durance told Waddell that he was “sick in the head,” and stopped after six months because he wanted to be a good father to his children.
Durance runs PD Solutions, a fundraising consulting company.
Among the groups he works with are the Vail Religious Foundation, the Western Colorado Community Foundation, and the American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles. Under the auspices of the Annenberg Foundation’s Alchemy Leadership Seminars, he is a lead trainer of Los Angeles area nonprofits in fundraising.
According to his website, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Denver, and his law degree from the University of Notre Dame.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.