A former Aspen teenager whose alleged behavior on a ski team trip in 2011 is the focus of a lawsuit against him, his parents and the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club (AVSC) pleaded guilty on Monday to felony attempted assault.
The 17-year-old was originally charged with two felonies — retaliation against a witness and assault. His attorney, David Kaplan of Denver, told Judge Gail Nichols of Pitkin County District Court that his client placed a white-board cleaning product in a girl’s water bottle.
“She drank a certain amount of it” and suffered stomach discomfort and burning in her throat, Kaplan said.
The incident happened on May 18, apparently at Aspen High, where the two had gone to school together. The Aspen Daily News is not naming the teen because he is a juvenile.
Both also were on an AVSC team and traveled to Summit County for a competition in December 2011, according to the lawsuit the girl and her father filed in Pitkin County District Court in August.
They allege that the boy made unwanted sexual advances toward her and touched her inappropriately in a hotel room. He has since pleaded guilty in Summit County to misdemeanor unlawful sexual contact and will be sentenced Jan. 3.
Prosecutor Arnold Mordkin filed the retaliation count because it was “tangentially” related to the Summit County case.
In pleading guilty, the teen admitted to intentionally trying to cause “stupor, unconsciousness, or other physical or mental impairment or injury to another person” by administering to the girl, without consent, a drug, substance or preparation capable of producing the intended harm, Nichols said, citing state law.
The teen and his mother quietly answered Nichols’ questions on Monday before he pleaded guilty to the reduced attempted assault count. The original charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement that recommends Nichols sentence him to one year of supervised probation.
The teen, who lives in Custer County and is taking online classes as a senior to get his diploma from Aspen High, is scheduled to be sentenced in Aspen on Jan. 7. Mordkin said he first wants to obtain a pre-sentence investigation report from Summit authorities.
Kaplan said the sentence in the Summit case will be “undoubtedly more stringent” than that involved for the Aspen crime.
“The really strong conditions that will cause you to have a very regimented life” for the next two years will come from Summit County, Nichols told the teen.
The boy and his mother said, besides his online courses, he is working on his family’s ranch.
“That’s good,” Nichols said. “You need to do stuff to keep you occupied. Being outdoors and doing chores will at least give you some satisfaction.”
The plaintiffs filed the civil lawsuit as John Doe and Jane Doe in an effort to protect their privacy. The alleged incidents, which the court filing says constitute unwanted sexual conduct and/or sexual assault, began on an Aspen chairlift on Dec. 1, 2011, during a ski race.
“Because of escalating conduct by [the boy] over a two-year period prior to this competition, Jane Doe agreed, on behalf of her teammates, to speak to [him] about his increasingly profane and inappropriate statements and behavior, and how his behavior made the girls on the team uncomfortable,” the lawsuit says of the chairlift intervention.
But the teen’s behavior escalated on Dec. 6, 2011, when he went into the girl’s hotel room, wrote the Does’ attorney, Marian Rosen of Houston.