Teen accused of rape will stay detained | VailDaily.com

Teen accused of rape will stay detained

Veronica Whitney

EAGLE – Despite a defense attorney’s pleas to release a 17-year-old boy accused of raping two classmates him, a judge Wednesday ordered the boy to remain in a juvenile detention center.The Battle Mountain High School junior, who was misidentified as a senior in previous reports, is charged with two counts of sexual assault. His identity is being withheld because he is a juvenile.”We reviewed the facts and the consensus is that at this time the detention stays because the charges are too serious,” said Rick Salazar, a probation officer who recommended at a hearing Wednesday in Eagle the boy not be released to his parents. “There’s allegations of physical force,” Salazar said after hearing, the boy’s second before District Judge Richard Hart.The defense had requested the boy be granted “prejudication,” a program for juvenile crime suspects that allows them to go home under supervision.”There hasn’t been a showing that he has committed the crimes,” defense attorney Terry O’Connor told Hart. “The family will do anything necessary to have him at home.”But Hart said he made his decision based on what is in the boy’s criminal file. The accused boy will return to the juvenile detention center in Denver where he has been held without bail since Feb. 24, when Avon Police arrested him.The sexual assaults allegedly happened in June 2003 in Eagle-Vail and in October in Wildridge, said Avon Police Det. Mike Leake. Probation officer Salazar said of such juvenile suspects, “We try to get them out as fast as we can, but as the judge said we can’t protect the community or him.”Deputy District Attorney Arly Miner also recommended the boy remained detained. The boy’s next hearing is March 30. He has not entered a plea yet, but once he does, he has a right to a trial within six months.The boy’s mother, whose name is being withheld to protect her son’s identity, said she’s still trying to put the pieces together.”I’m positive he was set up,” she said, bewildered, before her son’s hearing began. “I believe the girls made up the story.”She described her son as a ski champion and an accomplished swimmer who wasn’t that interested in girls.Hart had earlier denied bond for the boy at his March 2 arraignment and also kept a restraining order in place, which prohibits the accused student from approaching the two alleged victims or any witnesses. The suspect is also barred from local schools and from having contact with people under 18. Prosecutors have charged the teenager as a juvenile and not as an adult. If convicted on the felony sexual assault charges, the boy could be sentenced to two years in a juvenile detention facility.Staff Writer Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or vwhitney@vaildaily.com. Vail, Colorado

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