Craig Both the Craig police chief and Moffat County sheriff say there was no justice in sentencing a convicted sex offender to probation last week for assaulting a child.
But Deputy District Attorney David Waite said his decision to make the plea arrangement for Grant Taylor was based on a desire to inflict the least amount of additional trauma on the victim.
Taylor, 34, of Craig, was found guilty of sexual assault on a child, a class-four felony. He was sentenced to 10 years to life of probation.
Waite pointed out that if the case went to trial, it likely would have meant front-page stories in the newspaper, which would have upset those who have to live with the scars of the assaults.
"We need to consider what a trial would do," Waite said. "The victim has to be put on the stand in front of 12 adult strangers and discuss the intimate details of the incident. The trial process could be as traumatic, or more so, than the assault itself."
Waite said he sees the sex offender supervision program that Taylor will be enrolled in as more effective than jail time.
"The supervised parole would not have been an option if (Taylor) had served time," Waite said. "If we sentence him to jail, he serves his time and comes out of jail an untreated sexual predator. So he comes back into the community, out on parole, which would be supervised but not to the extent that (sex offender supervised probation) would be. Nor would (Taylor) be required to receive any treatment. Sure if he serves time, we have our pound of flesh he's been punished, but he hasn't been treated."
Still, Police Chief Walt Vanatta and Moffat County Sheriff Buddy Grinstead would have liked to have seen the pound of flesh exacted.
"If we put Taylor in prison for 10 or 12 years, you don't need to treat him," said Vanatta, who was frustrated that Waite made the probation decision on his own.
"I think the DA should ask for our input concerning these decisions. Whether he uses it or not is up to him, but to not involve us doesn't seem to be the best way."
In January 2000, Taylor, already facing charges for receiving child pornography through the U.S. mail, became a sexual offender suspect.
He was arrested Jan. 13, 2000, at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, where he was being treated for injuries he suffered in a one-vehicle accident two days earlier. Law enforcement officials said they believe the accident was a suicide attempt in which Taylor rammed his Ford pickup truck into a rock wall in Irish Canyon west of Craig.
Publicity surrounding his being charged with receiving child pornography led a resident of Craig to come forward and accuse Taylor of sexually assaulting a child, authorities said.
Taylor is presently serving a 27-month sentence for the child pornography conviction. His probation sentence for sexual assault on a child is in addition to that sentence.