Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Steamboat Springs A 50-year-old registered sex offender pleaded not guilty Tuesday to allegations he sexually assaulted a teenage boy last Thanksgiving.
Van Barton Bomgardner faces charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and sexual assault. Bomgardner reportedly supplied alcohol to a teenage boy and then engaged in a sex act with him during a Nov. 23 gathering at a mutual friend's home.
Routt County District Court Judge Shelley Hill set the three-day trail to begin July 16.
Also during Tuesday's hearing, Hill rejected public defen-der Trevor McFee's request to lower Bomgardner's bond from $100,000 to $12,000.
Deputy District Attorney Andy Heyl opposed the reduction, citing Bomgardner's past criminal history.
Bomgardner has been convicted of two other sex crimes involving minors, he said.
Heyl told Hill that lowering the man's bond would reduce the chances he will return to court. Bomgardner, Heyl said, may "spend the rest of his life in prison."
"It's a great incentive that he'd be better off trying to hide out and not come to trial or court," he said. "Obviously he's a danger to this community."
McFee argued that Bom-gardner has strong ties to the community because of the amount of time he has lived and worked in the Yampa Valley, and that Bomgardner would return for his court dates.
Bomgardner is scheduled to appear in Routt County District Court for an evidentiary motions hearing May 22 and a pre-trial conference July 11, before the July 16 trial begins.
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