Sunday, February 16, 2003
Steamboat Springs Charges against a Loveland man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting an Oak Creek man last fall have been dropped.
Rafael Otero, 51, was arrested in September 2002 for allegedly forcing a man into his van, driving to a secluded area and sexually assaulting him.
Supplemental facts released earlier this month to the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office raised questions about the ability of the district attorney's office to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James said he dismissed the case in light of the new information.
Subsequent details related to the case shed some uncertainty on the reliability of accusations against Otero.
Otero faced two counts of sexual assault and one count of kidnapping.
He pleaded not guilty to all three counts in November. His two-and-a-half day jury trial had been set for Feb. 26.
The alleged victim reported he was kidnapped and raped in the early hours of Sept. 8. The victim told investigators that Otero, who was living in a van in Oak Creek at the time, pulled him into the passenger's seat sometime after midnight and drove to a remote location in Routt County.
The victim accused Otero of driving to a secluded area and assaulting him before driving him back to Oak Creek and dropping him off.
Otero told investigators he did not have sex with the victim and the victim's allegations were false.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation conducted lab tests on evidence taken from the victim and the suspect.
Otero was held in the Routt County Jail on a $50,000 bond and only recently released when the charges were dropped.
He could not be reached for comment because he was attending to a death in the family that occurred last weekend.