Waiting for justice

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A Routt County jury last week found a Hayden man guilty of sexually assaulting a young girl who knew him as grandpa. The girl is actually the 55-year-old man's step-granddaughter. She shares horrible secrets with him. At least she doesn't share his blood.

The despicable acts that Calvin Drennan committed first occurred in the fall of 1998 in Jefferson County while Drennan was visiting the girl and her family at their home in Broomfield. The molestation happened again in Hayden that winter when the girl and her parents came to Routt County for a visit. What a horrible car ride into the mountains that must have been for the 13-year-old.

When Drennan was found guilty of molestation by a jury in Steamboat Springs on

Dec 12, it was a reenactment of a similar court hearing in Jefferson County last fall. A jury there found Drennan guilty in November of sexual assault on his step-granddaughter. A Jefferson County judge sentenced Drennan to 16 years in prison but then suspended

the prison time on the condition that Drennan successfully complete 16 years of supervised probation.

There's no doubt that Calvin Drennan needs help, which is what we assume that judge must have been thinking when he sentenced him to probation. Drennan does need treatment and supervision. We just think the treatment and supervision should start behind bars.

Luckily, the judicial system has another chance to administer the kind of justice we want to see. But whether that kind of justice will be found in Judge Richard Doucette's courtroom in Steamboat Springs on Jan. 16 isn't so clear.

Doucette, the chief judge in the 14th Judicial District, has a history of reconsidering sentences he has pronounced and replacing prison time with probation. Most recently, Judge Doucette suspended a four-year prison sentence he had given to Denise Martinez, a Steamboat Springs High School worker who stole tens of thousands of dollars from an activity fund and robbed even more from the students at the school. Doucette's pattern of reconsidering sentences is one we'd rather not see repeated in the Drennan case.

Calvin Drennan deserves to be locked up for what he did to the granddaughter who trusted him. Judge Doucette would serve the family and the community best by sentencing Drennan to prison on Jan. 16.

He would do even more of a service by letting that sentence stand.

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