Man cops plea in Aspen-area rapes, faces 14 years in state prison

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times

A Woody Creek man agreed to a 14-year sentence in state prison and a lifetime on the state’s sex-offender registry by pleading guilty Monday to four criminal charges associated with violent sexual assaults he committed in 2017 and 2018.

Keegan Callahan, 21, said few words during his arraignment hearing held in Pitkin County District Court. Callahan admitted, however, to Judge Chris Seldin — “Guilty, your honor,” he said — that he committed two felonious transgressions, sexual exploitation of a child and second-degree assault, and two misdemeanors, unlawful sexual contact. Prosecutor Don Nottingham agreed to drop other counts against Callahan as part of a plea agreement.

Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies arrested Callahan, who grew up in the Roaring Fork Valley, in October. Callahan, along with Henry Henley, was taken into custody at the time on accusations that they participated in the sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl that previous July.

Court documents described Callahan and Henley, working as a tandem, as using extreme violence to assault the girl. Henley admitted in early August that he used physical violence to force the victim to submit to being raped.

The pair also were accused of committing other sex offenses, some separately and others together, including on April 17, 2017, when Callahan and Henley picked up a girl in Callahan’s car and plied her with vodka in an area off McLain Flats Road, based on allegations in an application for a warrant to search Callahan’s Woody Creek home. Callahan later dropped off the girl at her home, but the two later picked her up from her residence and drove her to Eagle County. There, Callahan raped the girl in the backseat of his vehicle while Henley was in the front seat, the warrant application said.

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Callahan’s victims are satisfied with the disposition, Nottingham told the judge Tuesday. One of them — the victim of the July 2018 incident — attended the hearing with her mother. Some relatives of Callahan’s were there.

Under terms of the prosecution’s deal with Henley, an 18-year-old — who is being charged and sentenced in adult court though he was a minor when he committed the offenses — will serve five years in the Colorado Department of Corrections Youthful Offender System, where he will receive sexual offender treatment and rehabilitation. After that, he will spend at least the next 15 years — and possibly the rest of his life — on probation.

The judge set Callahan’s sentencing hearing for Sept. 16, the same day Henley will be sentenced. Callahan also faces five years of parole, while he and Henley face a lifetime on the sex-offender registry.

The two defendants have been in the custody of separate jails since their arrests — Callahan in Garfield County, Henley in Pitkin County. Both have bonds of $100,000 each.

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