Local man wants off sex-offender registry
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A man who pleaded guilty in 2009 to attempting to sexually assault the young girlfriend of a relative two years earlier, and who went to prison and was placed on the national sex-offender’s registry as a result, wants his name taken off the registry because he believes it was a judge’s mistake that put him on the registry in the first place.
Dana H. Head, 53, was paroled in 2010 but now is back in prison, according to state records, and will have the sentencing portion of his case reheard by District Judge Denise Lynch on Feb. 20, following recent rulings by the Colorado Supreme Court and the Colorado Court of Appeals.
He is to be represented by deputy public defender Sara Steele, according to documents on file in the Garfield County Courthouse.
A 2007 affidavit filed by Glenwood Springs Police Detective John Hassell reported that Head was hanging out and drinking with a male relative, who was 29 at the time, and the relative’s 18-year-old girlfriend one night in July 2007. The relative and his girlfriend were camping out in the yard of another relative’s house in Glenwood Springs.
After the partying ended, according to the court file, Head returned to his apartment, which adjoined the house, but in the early morning hours came back outside to find more alcohol to drink.
Entering the tent, he saw the young woman sleeping beneath a blanket and proceeded to sexually molest her while his young relative slept nearby.
According to an interview with police, the woman at first thought she was being romantically aroused by her boyfriend, but when she realized it was Head she screamed and awoke the boyfriend, who wrestled with Head and dragged him out of the tent.
After lengthy court proceedings, Head pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault (overcoming the victim’s will) in return for dismissal of other counts, and was sentenced by Judge Lynch to a six-year prison term, the maximum allowed under state law for the offense.
Lynch also found that Head was a “sexually violent predator,” based on previous sexual-assault convictions, and ordered that his name be placed on the sexual offender’s registry “for the rest of his life.”
But Head’s court-appointed attorney, Greg Greer, appealed the sentence, arguing that Lynch had overlooked a precedent-setting case known as People v. Gallegos, which held that a person cannot be found to be a sexual predator unless there was a “relationship” established between assailant and victim “primarily for the purpose of sexual victimization,” according to court documents.
Although the state Court of Appeals initially upheld Lynch’s sentencing decision, the Colorado Supreme Court last August overturned the sentence and sent it back for further review.
According to records at the Garfield County Jail, Head was an inmate there recently, after being arrested on an unspecified parole violation charge on Dec. 21. He reportedly is back in state prison, and will be transported back to Garfield County for the February hearing.
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The Glenwood Springs-Rifle sports rivalry goes way back for GSHS baseball coach and former Demons multi-sport student-athlete Eric Nieslanik.