Vail sex assault case ends in misdemeanors; accuser can’t remember what happened
EAGLE — A District Court judge handed down the stiffest sentences available to him, closing the books on a sexual assault case that he and prosecutors called “reprehensible.”
“Somebody should have stepped forward and said, ‘This has to stop,’” District Court Judge Paul Dunkelman said.
No one did, though, Dunkelman said.
“I’m not certain I saw anything … that indicated anyone was taking any sort of responsibility,” Dunkelman said.
Ed Dery, 32, Michael Martin, 32, and Lewis Ransom, 28, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and a petty offense for public indecency.
All three were sentenced to five years probation. Dery also received 190 days in jail on a work-release program. Ransom has already served 195 days in jail. Martin will remain in jail for another month after he violated bond by drinking.
Dunkelman asked all three men the same questions during Tuesday’s sentencing hearing.
“Do you have a sister?” Dunkelman asked.
And, “How do you think you might react if you saw a video of your sister going through this?” Dunkelman asked.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Joe Kirwan said the woman was not able to fend for herself.
“These three are at an age that they should know better. There is no excuse for how they behaved that night,” Kirwan said.
According to preliminary hearing testimony, Vail police received their initial call from the accuser’s father, days after the incident.
Ransom and Martin met their accuser on a town of Vail bus headed into Vail Village from Lionshead Village at about 7:45 p.m. Sept. 29, 2016, and went to The George, a Vail Village bar, according to police.
A George bartender testified that the accuser was “taking full advantage of happy hour.”
Another witness said the accuser was “aggressively flirting.”
The group left The George about 10:15 p.m. and took a town of Vail bus back to their Lionshead employee housing complex, according to police. The bar security video showed the accuser walking under her own power. A video from the Vail bus shows her kissing and caressing with one of the men in the back of the bus, the arrest affidavit said.
Everyone was unsteady on their feet when getting off the bus, and when she was asked if she was OK, the accuser is heard to say, “I’m great,” the arrest affidavit said. The men had sex with her on the fourth-floor landing of the stairwell, according to police.
Appearing by phone
Their accuser phoned the courtroom to make her statements during Tuesday’s sentencing hearing.
She said she wishes the sentencing could bring some closure. She still said she feels the emotional repercussions of what she went through, the vomiting and vaginal bleeding. She said she still cannot remember what happened that night.
“I still cannot bring myself to watch the video of what I cannot remember,” she said.
In accepting the plea deal, she and the prosecutors decided that they did not want to put her through a trial.
She said she still has feelings of anger, sadness and panic that will not go away. She said with the sentencing, her healing can now begin and she can keep moving forward.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.