An October call reporting an alleged sexual assault involving Aspen High School students left one of those students facing a class 4 felony charge, according to a redacted report released by the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office Monday.
The alleged incident occurred in late September and was being investigated by Aspen police, as investigators initially believed the location — described as one of the involved juvenile’s houses — to be within city limits; however, they later learned the property at which the alleged assault occurred was in unincorporated Pitkin County.
The family was notified of the jurisdictional change, and sheriff’s juvenile investigator Bruce Benjamin set up an interview with River Bridge Child Advocacy Center and later filed an official child abuse report through the Colorado Department of Human Service’s child abuse and neglect hotline reporting system, according to a report.
After interviewing both the alleged victim and perpetrator, investigators heard conflicting narratives, but one commonality was that hard alcohol consumption was involved.
“I then did discuss his poor judgment as far as the supplying and consumption of alcohol. I told [redacted] that in my experience as a deputy sheriff, often bad things occur after young people consume alcohol,” Benjamin wrote in a followup report. “And 14 years of age [is] certainly too young to be drinking.”
On Nov. 25, Benjamin received an email from the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office to issue a juvenile promise to appear for a Dec. 16 court date, according to the report. In that email, the prosecutor referenced the Colorado revised statute addressing sexual assault when the victim is physically helpless and the actor knows the victim is physically helpless and has not consented, a class 4 felony. Additionally, the district attorney noted a violation for supplying alcohol to someone younger than 21.