State Supreme Court to decide on issue in Steamboat child sex assault case

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John Holland Brothers Jr.

— A preliminary hearing for a man accused of sexually assaulting a Steamboat Springs child was postponed Monday after an order from the Colorado Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court’s involvement came at the request of the Routt County District Attorney’s Office, which is at odds with John Brothers’ defense team about whether the alleged child victim in the case should have to testify at the preliminary hearing.

Routt County Public Defender Sheryl Uhlmann, who is representing Brothers, has subpoenaed the child to testify at the preliminary hearing. Typically, preliminary hearings consist of testimony from law enforcement officials. The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether probable cause exists to have the case moved to 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 say they want to protect the identity of the child.

The Supreme Court ultimately will decide whether the child will have to testify at the preliminary hearing, a decision that isn’t expected until late June or July.

Brothers still is in custody and his bond has been set at $500,000. The District Attorney’s Office filed 27 felony charges against Brothers related to sex 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 last month 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 Brothers was a youth minister.

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