Former Avon councilman gets 90 days
Thomas Michael Hines, 41, of Edwards, who was a councilman in Avon from 1991 to 1996, is serving his sentence at the Eagle County jail. Eagle County Judge Frederick Gannett sentenced Hines last month.
Hines was arrested on May 15 and charged with sexual assault on a child, an Eagle County Sheriff’s Office report says. The case files are sealed to the public because it’s a sexual assault case and no further details were available.
“I’m disappointed with the sentence,” said a relative of the victim, now 13. “(Hines) should have gone to prison.”
Enticement of a child is convincing a child to come to a secluded space to then try and convince them to commit a sexual contact, said former Eagle County Assistant District Attorney Dave Moffat, the prosecutor in the case. The possible penalties include a minimum of 10 years to life probation or a minimum of two years to life in prison.
Moffat asked for probation and 90 days in jail.
“We respect (the victim’s relative) position, but each sexual assault case is different,” District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said. “When you work on a plea, you need to take into account that they are admitting to their crime and they are admitting that there is a problem and that they are willing to do treatment.”
Still, Hurlbert said it is a little concerning that there wasn’t a community correction, such as a half-way house, or a department of correction sentence – or, prison – on the case since it was a sexual crime involving a child.
“My personal policy is to look at the department of corrections or the community corrections as a starting point in these cases,” Hurlbert said. Community corrections, the Department of Corrections and probation are the three types of sentencing, he said.
“On any child sex assault case it is appropriate to look at prison or community corrections,” Hurlbert said. “It certainly would have been appropriate to sentence (Hines) to the community corrections or prison.”
Hines pleaded guilty in August at a disposition hearing before Gannett. In addition to the enticement of a child charge, a class 4 felony, Hines faced two other charges – one of which was a count of sexual assault on a child by someone in a position of trust – but Gannett accepted the plea on one charge.
As part of the sentence, Hines will be put under “sex offender intensive supervision” probation until further order of the court.
“The length of the treatment will depend on how he does,” Hurlbert said. “The probation department will check on how his treatment goes.”
The minimum conditions of probation are quite restrictive in these cases, Hurlbert said.
“They start with no contact with people under 18-years-old, including his own children. That includes not being able to get close to a school or jog on a recreational path,” Hurlbert said.
Although the conditions of his probation weren’t available, according to other conditions of probation in sexual offense cases, Hines also will have to register with local police departments as a sex offender and he might not be able to date nor marry anyone who has children under the age of 18, unless approved in advance in writing by the probation officer
Hines will also attend and participate in a sex offender evaluation and treatment program approved by the probation officer and might have to pass polygraphs tests.
Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or at email@example.com.