Sex offender sentenced to 16 years |

Sex offender sentenced to 16 years

Veronica Whitney

When she sent William Osterfoss to jail last year, a former judge said Osterfoss, a sex offender, would be there 18 months and then he would be released.

“Unfortunately, nothing more can happen after that,” said former District Court Judge Terri Diem when sentencing Osterfoss to 18 months in jail after he violated his probation on a misdemeanor child pornography charge.

But District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said Wednesday that Osterfoss, whom he called “an extremely dangerous sex offender,” has finally been sent to prison – this time for committing a sexual assault on a child, a class IV felony.

On Oct. 22, District Court Judge Tom Moorhead sentenced Osterfoss, 33, of Gypsum, to 16 years in prison, the maximum penalty for the charge. Osterfoss was convicted on having unlawful sexual contact with a 12-year-old girl from Eagle County over a three-day-period in 1993.

In February 2001, Osterfoss also was convicted on a misdemeanor child pornography charge. He got probation, which he violated and went to jail.

“We’re very pleased with the sentence and feel that it is appropriate,” said Hurlbert, who had asked for the maximum penalty. “Sex offenses are tough to prosecute and older cases are even tougher.”

This time, Osterfoss had pleaded guilty to a class IV felony, which carries a maximum sentence of 16 years. He was originally charged with a class III felony, which carries a maximum sentence of 32 years.

Moorhead sentenced Osterfoss under the 1993 state statute, which didn’t include lifetime in prison for a sex offense, Hurlbert said.

When he was charged with felony sexual assault in December 2002, Osterfoss was in the Eagle County jail for violating his probation.

“This felony case had never been reported. We didn’t find out about it until after the misdemeanor case,” Hurlbert said.

In prison, Osterfoss will likely undergo special treatment for sex offenders, Hurlbert said.

In 2001, former Judge Diem said she sentenced Osterfoss to strictly-supervised probation in hopes he would get treatment, which he can’t get in jail. But, Osterfoss admitted to violating the terms of his probation and in July 2002, Diem sentenced him to 18 months in jail.

“The treatment programs available in prison are pretty good,” Hurlbert said. “The latest research shows you can’t get over pedophelia, but some can learn to control it.”

Osterfoss was convicted of the misdemeanor charge in February 2001, following a two-day trial. He was originally served with a felony summons in October 1999 for sexual exploitation by being in possession of child pornography.

In 2001, police discovered Osterfoss in possession of a large cache of child pornography. In September 2001, Diem sentenced Osterfoss to four years’ probation. Conditions of that sentence included that Osterfoss get and hold a job, pay fines and wear an electronic home monitor so officials could track his movements. He was also forbidden to own a computer, videotape player or cameras.

But Osterfoss was arrested again in March 2002 on a 10-point complaint filed by the Eagle County Probation Department. He admitted to four of those complaints: not continuing payments on his monitoring device; possession of a sexually explicit video movie; failure to get a job and failure to make fine payments.

Eagle Valley Enterprise reporter Scott Miller contributed to this story.

Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or at


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