Steamboat Springs A jury of four women and two men found Jade Summit and Pirate's Pub owner Kevin Nerney not guilty of unlawful sexual contact, a misdemeanor, in Routt County Court on Friday morning. The trial began Thursday.
"They took about 25 minutes to reach a verdict of not guilty, which is a very quick verdict, relatively speaking," said Kris Hammond, Nerney's attorney.
Nerney was arrested in February at Jade Summit on the misdemeanor charge, which involved a patron at the pub.
While successful at the criminal trial, Nerney still faces a July 5 hearing with the Steamboat Springs City Council, which will decide whether to suspend or revoke the liquor licenses for Nerney's Ski Time Square restaurant and bar. The council, acting as the Liquor License Authority, has the authority to suspend or revoke the bar's liquor license based on Nerney's alleged conduct in the arrest, despite the jury's verdict.
"What I've heard from the city is that the verdict doesn't mean anything to them," Hammond said.
The administrative hearing with the City Council has been postponed twice since it was originally scheduled in March. Despite the objections of city officials, the council granted the continuances at the request of Hammond, who said he was not comfortable with Nerney talking about the allegation with city officials before the criminal case.
Now that the case has been settled in Nerney's favor, Hammond said he doesn't believe the council should have a hearing at all.
"It's a complaint that's been through the courts and can't be proved," Hammond said.
City Council President Susan Dellinger said the council will move forward with its hearing because "it has nothing to do with the criminal case."
Dellinger said the potential misuse of a liquor license is a separate issue from the criminal prosecution of an individual and that the council will review findings of fact to determine if Nerney's businesses still meet the standards required to hold the license.
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