Former Steamboat teacher in jail awaiting court decision

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John Holland Brothers Jr.

— John Holland Brothers Jr., the former teacher accused of sexually assaulting a Steamboat Springs child, remains in Routt County Jail awaiting a decision from the Colorado Supreme Court.

At issue is whether the alleged child victim should have to testify at Brothers’ preliminary hearing, which determines whether probable cause exists to have the case moved to the 14th Judicial District Court, where felony cases are handled.

Prosecutors are trying to keep the child off the stand for fear it would further victimize the child and the child’s family. Prosecutors also said they want to protect the identity of the child.

Colorado’s highest court decided to take up the issue May 21 at the request of the Routt County District Attorney’s Office. That was in response to Routt County Public Defender Sheryl Uhlmann’s decision to subpoena the child to testify.

Uhlmann had until June 7 to present her argument to the court. After the argument was filed, the District Attorney’s Office had 20 days to reply.

“We’re waiting for the Colorado Supreme Court to rule,” Assistant District Attorney Brett Barkey said Tuesday.

The Colorado Supreme Court releases its decisions on Mondays, and Barkey said he expected a decision in one or two weeks.

Until then, Brothers’ legal proceedings have been on hold, and he has been unable to post the $500,000 bond that was set by Routt County Judge James Garrecht.

The clerk for the Colorado Supreme Court did not immediately return messages Tuesday seeking comment.

The District Attorney’s Office has filed 27 felony charges against Brothers related to sexual assault involving a child.

Investigators accuse Brothers of sexually assaulting the child between April 2006 and May 2008. During that period, Brothers taught middle school and high school classes at Heritage Christian School, but the assaults are not thought to have occurred at the school. Some details surrounding the accusations have not been disclosed, such as the gender and age of the child and whether the child was a student at the school.

Brothers was arrested in Louisiana in April and brought to Routt County Jail. He also is facing charges of first-degree sexual abuse in Kentucky, where authorities allege he sexually assaulted two youths at a church where he was a youth minister.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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