Man appears in court in sex-assault case

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A 30-year-old Clark man who was arrested in February on suspicion of breaking into a Steamboat Springs office, taking off his clothes and sexually harassing a female employee had his preliminary hearing in Routt County Court on Wednesday.

According to courtroom testimony, the man told police that he saw the female victim's car and parked his vehicle one block away. He then entered the office, took off his clothes, snuck up on the woman and fondled her breasts, according to testimony. The man reportedly grabbed the woman by the arm and then grabbed her a second time, ripping her blouse. The woman had a previous protection order against the man.

After the incident, the man put on his clothes and, assuming that the victim was going to call police, turned himself in at the Routt County Jail.

Officers involved in the case said the man was distraught after turning himself in and did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Steamboat Springs police Officer Nate Morton, who testified in the case, said the defendant cried after he turned himself in and was very upset while he was being booked.

The man previously had pleaded guilty to a 2003 incident in which he exposed himself to a woman at a laundromat. He received two years parole and was sentenced to six months in jail after violating his parole conditions.

Judge James Garrecht ruled that the man's case met probable cause on several counts and will be heard at a later date at the suggestion of public defender Trevor McFee.

The man's case will be heard in August in district court on counts of unlawful sexual conduct and burglary charges, and the defendant will remain in custody.

A sexual assault case involving a 37-year-old man who was arrested May 12 on suspicion of sexually assaulting his teenage stepdaughter also was heard Wednesday. The attempted assault occurred more than a year ago.

Citing "dire circumstances," McFee asked Garrecht to consider lowering the man's bond from $20,000 to $2,000 so he could return to work. McFee said the man and his wife have received an eviction notice and that his wife could not support herself on her wages alone.

Deputy District Attorney Tammy Harrell argued that the $20,000 bond is what is expected in this type of case and that because of the severity of the alleged crime, Garrecht should not consider lowering bond.

Garrecht ruled in favor of the prosecution and will keep bond at $20,000. The case was moved to June 15.

In other court proceedings, a man arrested Tuesday on charges of theft and writing fraudulent checks had his cae approved for a status review in June.

Michael Renwick, 49, of Steamboat Springs, is accused of writing about $5,000 in bad checks and stealing several bottles of alcohol, a microwave, a television and a mini-refrigerator from hotels where he was staying.

Renwick is ineligible for bond because of a parole violation.

Renwick's case was approved for a status review hearing June 15, by which the defense and prosecution hope to reach a resolution.

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