Prosecutor says former Basalt choir director must accept plea deal by April 28 or proceed to trial

Scott Condon, Aspen Times
Brittany von Stein Garfield County Jail

Former Basalt High School choir director Brittany von Stein has until April 28 to accept a plea offer in a sexual assault case or proceed to trial, the prosecutor in the case said Tuesday.

Zac Parsons, deputy district attorney with the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, told Garfield County District Judge James Boyd during a teleconference Tuesday that he has outlined conditions of the plea offer for von Stein and wanted another hearing set for April 28 on a possible disposition. Parsons said he must stick to the deadline because if a plea agreement cannot be reached, other deadlines loom for proceedings ahead of a trial.

Von Stein’s attorney, Michael Fox, responded that more time was necessary for negotiations.

“I don’t know that we’ll have an answer at that point,” he said of April 28.

Fox requested the next hearing be set for May.

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Parsons responded, “We’re not willing to keep the offer open that long.”

Fox said other factors favored holding the hearing in May. He said von Stein has lost her employment in the Roaring Fork Valley due to the coronavirus crisis, and he submitted a motion requesting that she be allowed to move to her parents’ house in Ohio. Fox didn’t say where she had been working. Perhaps by mid-May, the pandemic will have settled enough to allow von Stein to travel back to Colorado and appear in court in person, Fox said.

Boyd granted the request to allow her to travel and reside out of state and he set her next hearing for May 12. However, he stressed that he cannot make the DA’s Office extend the deadline for plea negotiations.

Von Stein, 26, was arrested at her home in Carbondale Sept. 4 for allegedly engaging in sex with a male student from Basalt High School when he was a minor. She was charged with three counts of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust.

The case has been sealed, prohibiting scrutiny of documents filed in the case. Boyd ruled Tuesday he would unseal the case after he personally redacts any information that would allow identification of the alleged victim and his family.

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