Saturday, January 12, 2008
Steamboat Springs A man facing felony sexual assault charges pleaded no contest to indecent exposure, a misdemeanor, in Routt County Court on Friday, accepting a plea agreement offered after difficulties arose in prosecuting the case.
Clint Earle, 33, was arrested in October on suspicion of forcing a young girl to touch him inappropriately on two separate occasions at his home in unincorporated Routt County.
Judge James Garrecht tentatively agreed to a sentence of two years of supervised probation, pending a presentence investigation by the probation department, given the unspecified "serious weaknesses" in the case.
Issues arose during discovery, the pretrial phase where the prosecution and the defense compile evidence, Earle's attorney Jay Cramner said.
Given the circumstances, the District Attorney's Office determined probation was an "appropriate disposition," Deputy District Attorney Andrew Heyl said.
Earle was originally charged with five felony counts of sexual assault on a child by someone in a position of trust. The charges were for two separate offenses occurring between Jan. 1, 2005, and Nov. 29, 2006, when the alleged incidents were first reported to the Routt County Department of Human Services.
If Earle violates the conditions of his probation, he will face up to 18 months in jail on the indecent exposure charge, a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Earle is due to appear in court for final sentencing 11:30 a.m. March 12.