Eagle County man gets four years in community corrections for sexual assault
George Brown also receives probationary sentence of 10 years to life in Monday hearing
Editor’s note: This story contains brief descriptions of sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact that may be upsetting for some readers.
An Eagle County local convicted of sexual assault was sentenced to four years in community corrections with a mandatory parole period of 10 years to life in an emotional hearing Monday afternoon.
In July, a jury convicted George Brown on six counts related to sexual assault charges filed against him in 2019. Brown was found guilty of sex assault, a class 4 felony; attempted sex assault and unlawful sexual contact — two counts on each charge for the two women who Brown assaulted while they were intoxicated in February 2019. He was found not-guilty on a misdemeanor trespassing charge.
According to a police affidavit, Brown was one of seven people living in a house in EagleVail when he entered a woman’s separate room while she and a visiting female friend were intoxicated and sleeping — then got into the bed and sexually assaulted the two women during the night.
“He killed me that day. Maybe not literally but mentally and emotionally, he did,” one of the women said at Monday’s hearing. “I am not the same person who was sleeping in that bed; I am broken.”
Monday’s sentencing hearing represented the culmination of a nearly three-year court battle fraught with delays and an alleged violation of Brown’s speedy trial rights that went before the Colorado Supreme Court earlier this year.
These delays racked up 220 days of jail time for Brown and an immeasurable amount of emotional distress for the two women he attacked, according to statements made at Monday’s hearing.
“After I decided to press charges, I had no idea the amount of time, energy, effort, confusion, anxiety, anger and frustration I would feel,” one woman said. “I had to balance healing and participating in this court process that I had absolutely no idea about.
“I was almost at a breaking point before we were finally able to go to court.”
Deputy District Attorney Johnny Lombardi argued that Brown should be sentenced to the Colorado Department of Corrections because he was on probation for a DUI case when he committed the sexual assault that night, and, shortly thereafter, he was arrested in another case in Aspen.
Reports in Brown’s presentence investigation show that “he appeared to be minimizing negative aspects of his behavior” and exhibited “a very high level of generalized defensiveness,” Lombardi said.
“He also has shown no remorse for what he has done to us, and for that I do not forgive him,” one of the women said at Brown’s hearing Monday. “He deserves to have this follow him for the rest of his life and haunt him, just like it haunts me.”
Lombardi quoted Colorado’s statute on sentencing, which dictates that sentencing decisions should “punish a convicted offender … in relation to the seriousness of his offense” and provide “an effective deterrent to others likely to commit similar offenses.”
“Everybody should feel safe,” Lombardi said. He asked Judge Reed W. Owens to deliver a sentence of six years to life in the Department of Corrections.
Denver-based defense attorney Jonathan S. Willett accused Lombardi of cherry-picking the pieces of Brown’s presentence investigation that suited his argument for a tougher sentence.
Willett urged Owens to make “the courageous decision” of allowing Brown to rehabilitate within the community, especially after he had already spent “well over half a year in jail.”
Willett referred to a different subsection in the Colorado statute on sentencing that states that judges should also consider “the characteristics of the individual offender” in handing down a sentence.
The back of the courtroom was filled with Brown’s friends, family, and mentors on Monday, a few of whom came to the front of the room to speak about the characteristics of the offender they know as George “Geo” Brown.
“We’re supplying this information to the court so you can know who this defendant is who comes before you today for sentencing — what the other 99% of his life has been about,” Willett said.
Brown’s childhood friend Andraes Apostol described him as a kind, caring man who supported him through all of life’s most important moments before being consumed by addiction.
“In recent years, following the pandemic, I’ve seen (Brown) flip his life around,” Apostol said. “He was rebuilding his foundation and becoming more and more like the (Brown) I know.”
Robert Shearon, another childhood friend and sobriety mentor, said the 2019 incident was the result of “alcohol-driven behavior,” adding that Brown is involved in multiple addiction programs now and shows strong signs of being on the recovery track.
Finally, Brown got up to speak.
“First, I’d like to make an apology to (the victims in this case). I know this has affected their everyday aspects of life for the last three years. I know it’s affected their family and their close ones,” Brown said. “I’m a different person today than I was in 2019.”
Brown admitted to being an alcoholic and detailed his progress in programs in and out of the Eagle County jail, where he said he is currently leading other inmates through an Alcoholics Anonymous program.
After listening to statements from all parties involved, Owens said the sentencing decision came down to one thing: balancing punishment with rehabilitation and confinement with treatment.
Brown scored in the low to moderate range of his psycho-sexual evaluation, meaning he is “amenable to treatment,” Owens said. He also received low scores on three other tests used to assess the likelihood of recidivism.
Owens commended Brown for his candor in admitting to his alcoholism and listed his strong community support system and participation in self-improvement programs over the last few years as “mitigating factors,” or indicators for a lighter sentence.
However, the judge pointed out that Brown has been less candid in owning up to the sexual violence he committed against the two women, whose lives will never be the same because of it.
“Throughout this case, there’s been minimization of the role that you played in the sex offense — not in alcohol consumption, not in sobriety and your course of recovery,” Owens said.
Owens sentenced Brown to four years in a community corrections facility rather than sending him to the Department of Corrections, where rehabilitation programs are less available.
After serving his time in community corrections, Brown will be placed on “sex offender intensive supervised probation” for 10 years to life, which will require him to register as a sex offender.
Brown was also sentenced to 90 days of jail time for violating his probation conditions when he committed the 2019 attacks. His sentence will get credit for the time he has already served in jail.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, Bright Future Foundation offers comprehensive support and advocacy. Their 24/7 hotline can be reached at 970-949-7086.
Email Kelli Duncan at email@example.com