Indecency plea ends assault case
Vail, CO Colorado
EAGLE ” A former Gypsum man whose lawyer admits touched a 3-year-old girl “out of curiosity” when he was 15 was sentenced to two years of probation Monday, authorities said.
The man, 18, of St. George, Utah, was accused of touching the 3-year-old’s girl’s vagina on April 17, 2004, and about five months later he was charged with felony sexual assault on the child, whose name is being withheld, authorities said.
The man pleaded guilty to misdemeanor public indecency on June 25, authorities said.
Psychological evaluations showed that the man ” whose name is being withheld because he was a minor when the incident occurred ” did not touch the girl for sexual gratification and that he is not a danger to society, said Jim Fahrenholtz, the man’s attorney.
“We believe that a jury would not have found that he did it for sexual gratification,” Fahrenholtz said.
The petty offense will not require the man to register as a sex offender, Fahrenholtz said.
The girl did not remember the alleged incident, so the prosecution was unable to follow through with the original felony sexual assault charge, said Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert.
“We wouldn’t be prosecuting if we believed he didn’t commit a crime,” said Hurlbert, who declined to talk about details of the case because the man was 15 years old at the time of the alleged incident.
The man was arrested on May 9, 2006, in St. George, where he and his mother moved in June 2004, Fahrenholtz said.
The District Attorney’s Office asked Vail Detective Ryan Millbern to track down the man and his mother. In 2006, Millbern went undercover online as a student and began corresponding with the man by e-mail. The man had been using an e-mail domain at a St. George school and Millbern had him arrested at the school, authorities said.
The man’s mother cooperated with police in every instance, beginning with reporting the incident with the 3-year-old girl days after it allegedly took place, Fahrenholtz said.
“There was never any intention to sweep this under the rug and make it look like it didn’t happen,” Fahrenholtz said.
Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.