Aspen ski instructor faces sex crime allegations in Arapahoe County
A coach for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club is in local custody on sexual-assault and incest charges stemming from a series of alleged incidents more than 15 years ago, authorities said.
Glenwood Springs resident William Montag, 67, who is the father of reality TV star Heidi Montag, will soon be extradited from Pitkin County Jail to Arapahoe County to answer the charges, said Capt. Larry Etheridge, of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office. Etheridge said the arrest, made Thursday afternoon on an Arapahoe County warrant by Aspen police at AVSC’s offices, came after an investigation that launched in June.
“Allegations were brought forward by a woman, who is now an adult, who had alleged a sexual assault a little more than 15 years ago during a period of time when she was between 14 and 17,” he said.
AVSC hired Montag as an alpine coach in the fall, and he started work in November, said the organization’s executive director, Mark Cole.
“I was not aware of this until the police department showed up at my office in the late afternoon (Thursday),” Cole said.
Friday afternoon, Cole sent an email to parents of participants in AVSC, which instructs Roaring Fork Valley youth in a wide range of skiing and snowboarding disciplines, ranging from beginners to Olympic qualifiers. Montag is currently suspended, but AVSC’s alpine programs will continue this weekend as planned, the email said.
“The alleged incident does not involve anyone under his care at AVSC or the Aspen area,” the email said. “The investigation is ongoing and we are cooperating with authorities every step of the way. We will keep you informed as the situation unfolds.”
The email continues: “Please know your children are in good hands with AVSC. We follow USSA guidelines for background screening of all who work with our athletes. We also provide coach training each year in Safe Sport — a focus on creating an environment that protects all aspects of the health and well-being of our athletes.”
Cole said it was important to notify parents as soon as possible.
“We just wanted them to hear first from us,” he said. “It’s the responsibility we have to our parents.”
The Aspen Police Department said it was notified by the FBI that Montag was skiing at Aspen Highlands. When he returned to the AVSC offices, he was arrested without incident, police said.
Etheridge said Arapahoe County authorities interviewed Montag and he “denied it all.”
“He did not admit guilt,” he said.
Etheridge declined to go into details about the case.
“A lot of time, these cases are difficult, so basically it is based on testimony and interviews and we determined what happened by putting it all together,” he said.
Heidi Montag is not considered a victim in the case, according to reports from 9News and the Denver Post. Both media outlets — citing an arrest affidavit — reported that there were at least 50 incidents of abuse. Only the alleged crimes that occurred after July 1, 1996, can be prosecuted because of the statute of limitations.
Etheridge said that there is one alleged victim in the case.
Montag faces three counts of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust and three counts of aggravated incest. Both are Class-III felonies.
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A fire in a building at Willits Town Center Thursday night forced Roaring Fork Fire Rescue to prepare for the worst because of residences on the upper two stories. Fortunately the fire was confined to an HVAC unit on the roof.