Fort Collins man set for trial on Eagle County sex assault charges | VailDaily.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Fort Collins man set for trial on Eagle County sex assault charges

Joshua Gewirtz faces trial in May for allegedly using a dating app to sexually assault women

Joshua Gewirtz
Larimer County Sheriff’s Office

Editor’s note: This story contains brief descriptions of sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact that might upset some readers.

This spring, an Eagle County jury will decide the fate of a Fort Collins man accused of using the popular dating app Tinder to meet and sexually assault women while living in Avon.

Joshua Gewirtz, 27, is set for two trials in May 2022 for sexual assault charges stemming from two separate incidents that occurred within 24 hours of one another at the end of November and the beginning of December 2020.



For the first, Gewirtz faces two sexual assault charges — one a class 3 felony and the other a class 4, according to Deputy District Attorney Amy Padden of the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

For the second incident, he faces two class 3 felonies for sexual assault, one that alleges the victim was drugged without consent and another that alleges the victim was “incapable of appraising the nature of her conduct.” He was also charged with a class 4 felony for sexual assault and possession of a controlled substance, a class 4 drug felony.



The class 3 felony sexual assault charges each carry sentences of 4 to 12 years in prison. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

A ‘pattern of behavior’

Gewirtz was arrested in August and remained in custody at the Eagle County jail as of Wednesday. Eagle County Judge Rachel Olguin-Fresquez opted to maintain an especially high bond amount for Gewirtz in a hearing on Nov. 18.

Defense attorney Jesse Wiens’ request to lower the bond was denied, and Gewirtz’s bail was maintained at $50,000 due to “the seriousness of the allegations” and “the nature of the predator-type behavior alleged,” Olguin-Fresquez said.

In both cases, victims alleged that Gewirtz contacted them through the online dating app, Tinder, and then assaulted them after meeting up for a date.

The warrants issued by the district attorney and Eagle County Sheriff’s Office alleged the crimes were part of a “pattern of behavior,” in which Gewirtz drugged and then sexually assaulted women, often choking them, according to a news release in August.

The cases are now being litigated in district court. Gewirtz came before Chief Judge Paul R. Dunkelman of the 5th Judicial District Wednesday morning for a disposition hearing.

Wiens informed Dunkelman that Gewirtz would be entering a not-guilty plea on all charges, and a trial date was set.

Two weeklong trials are scheduled at the Eagle County Justice Center in Eagle in spring: one May 2-6 and the other May 23-27. There is a chance that the district attorney’s office will choose to combine the two cases, in which case one longer trial would be held at the start of May.

A request to leave the state

Also on Wednesday, Wiens requested permission for Gewirtz to leave the state if he can post bond, so he could live with his mother in Kentucky, where he is from and has a better support network awaiting him, Wiens said.

One complicating factor is whether additional charges will be brought against Gewirtz in Colorado related to an incident that occurred in Larimer County. There is also DNA testing that will need to be done before Gewirtz would leave the state.

These questions are hanging over the head of Gewirtz’s parents as they decide whether to bail him out of jail, Wiens said.

Yet, another potential victim has been identified in Kentucky, but Wiens said Gewirtz would be fully cooperative with any protection order put in place for that victim if he is allowed to return to Kentucky.

Padden pushed back against the request, saying that Gewirtz had been living with his mother in Kentucky when he allegedly sexually assaulted someone there, which, she argued, shows that the environment would not deter him from more criminal behavior.

“The victims are opposed to (Gewirtz) leaving the state, they’re opposed to the bond being reduced,” Padden said. Many of Gewirtz’s bond conditions, such as not using the internet, would be very difficult to monitor from another state, she said.

Dunkelman maintained Olguin-Fresquez’s decision to not reduce Gewirtz’s bond. Dunkelman agreed with Wiens that if he bonds out, Gewirtz should be in “the most stable living environment as possible.”

However, given other factors currently at play, “if Mr. Gewirtz bonded out, the court would not enter an order permitting him to leave the state of Colorado,” Dunkelman said.

Gewirtz will come before Chief Judge Dunkelman on Feb. 2 for a review hearing and again on March 25 for a motion hearing ahead of his May trials.

Resources

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, Bright Future Foundation offers comprehensive support and advocacy. Their 24/7 hotline is 970-949-7086.


Support Local Journalism