Routt County man standing trial for sexual assault on child
May 15, 2013
Steamboat Springs — A Routt County jury this week has been hearing testimony in a sexual assault trial involving a 39-year-old Stagecoach man and a boy who was 7 years old at the time.
The trial began Tuesday and was scheduled for three days. The jury is expected to begin deliberating Thursday.
The Stagecoach man has been charged with sex assault on a child, a Class 4 felony; sex assault on a child with a pattern of abuse, a Class 3 felony; and sex assault on a child younger than age 15, a Class 4 felony.
Steamboat Springs attorney Larry Combs is representing the Stagecoach man.
The Steamboat Pilot & Today does not typically identify those accused of sex crimes until they have been convicted.
The man was arrested in September after an investigation by the Routt County Sheriff’s Office. He later was released after posting a $250,000 bond.
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According to testimony during the trial, a woman from the Denver area had visited the Stagecoach man at his home on two occasions with her two young sons and two daughters.
A few months after the May 2012 visits, the mother testified that her 7-year-old son told her that the Stagecoach man had had sexual contact with him.
The scared and nervous child took the stand Wednesday afternoon while his mother sat behind the prosecutors. Despite persistence from Chief Deputy District Attorney Rusty Prindle, the child did not want to talk about the details related to the accusations. He said he did not want to use naughty words.
“I don’t really feel like talking about it,” the boy said repeatedly.
After the testimony, Prindle told Judge Shelley Hill that it was not unusual for a child victim to be nervous, embarrassed and hold back when put on the stand.
“He didn’t want to say certain words in front of perfect strangers,” Prindle said, referring to a 12-member jury and two alternates.
Combs asked for a mistrial because the boy was unable to talk about details from the incidents that investigators said took place.
Combs also took issue with the boy not being able to identify the man in the courtroom who is suspected of sexually assaulting him.
“I can’t see him at all,” the boy said.
The Stagecoach man was wearing an eyepatch because of a medical issue, and Prindle said he had shaved his beard since the assault allegedly occurred.
“The way he’s dressed, he might as well come in wearing a disguise,” Prindle said.
Hill ruled that the boy not being able to identify the man was not grounds for a mistrial.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com