Rifle man faces additional charges in alleged pattern of child sex assault over several years | PostIndependent.com

Rifle man faces additional charges in alleged pattern of child sex assault over several years

More charges are pending against a 54-year-old Rifle man accused of child sexual assault and a pattern of abuse over several years involving multiple victims.

The defendant (whose name is not being used to protect the identity of the alleged intra-family victims in the case) has remained in the Garfield County Jail on $100,000 bond since his March arrest.

He appeared virtually from the jail in Garfield County District Court before Judge Denise Lynch on Thursday when the forthcoming amended charges were announced.

The new charges involve three alleged child victims in addition to the two who were known based on the initial investigation leading up to the man’s arrest on March 11.

According to a Garfield County Sheriff’s Office investigator’s affidavit in the case, the man allegedly sexually abused one child in his care from the time she was age 4 until 2018 when she was 13.

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The alleged assaults took place in the family’s homes in both Rifle and Parachute, and on at least one camping trip that the primary victim, who was about 9 at the time, described in detail to investigators.

The in-home assaults would take place when her mother was at work, and occasionally even when she had friends over. Eventually, they, too, were allegedly assaulted by the defendant, according to the affidavit.

According to victim interviews, “He basically did everything to me but actual sexual intercourse. … He tried many times, but I wouldn’t let him,” the victim stated to investigators.

In interviews facilitated by the River Bridge Center, the primary victim said she couldn’t remember a time when the abuse wasn’t happening, but that it ended when she finally “started fighting back” about the time she was 12 or 13, according to the affidavit.

She told investigators that, over the years, the assaults extended to other pre-teen victims outside the home, and that he did have sex with some of them.

The case has been continued several times since the man’s initial arrest, as investigators have worked to gather more information from the other alleged victims.

The defendant’s attorney, William Palmer, waived further advisement on the new charges until he could meet with and explain the new charges with his client.

Due to a number of scheduling conflicts between Judge Lynch and Palmer, the arraignment hearing was continued to Nov. 4.

“This case is quite serious, and it has taken time to compile information for the updated charging document,” Deputy 9th District Attorney Ben Sollars said in court Thursday. “We do hope to move as fast as possible now.”

Should the defendant be released on bond in the meantime, Lynch advised that he would be bound by the terms of a protection order preventing him from contacting any of the alleged victims in the case, along with other restrictions.

She indicated that, since the Nov. 4 date is the earliest possible scheduling, the attorneys should be prepared to make some significant progress at that time.

“We’ve had continuance after continuance, and we need to get some closure for the alleged victims in this case,” Lynch said.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or jstroud@postindependent.com.

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