Two persons, one of whom is a juvenile, are charged with sexually assaulting a girl; the adult defendant, who is 20, was told Wednesday that if convicted he faces 16 years to possibly life in prison.
More charges may be brought against the juvenile, who is 17, and Keegan Callahan, 20, of Woody Creek, in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties, a prosecutor said.
Judge Chris Seldin of Pitkin County District Court set cash-only bonds of $100,000 for Callahan, who turned himself in Tuesday, and the other defendant, who is not being named because he is a juvenile. Callahan is charged with sexual assault involving a crime of violence, and deputy district attorney Don Nottingham said the juvenile, if he were an adult, would face the same.
And the underaged defendant may face the same, as the prosecutor said he is considering charging him as an adult. The juvenile appeared by phone Wednesday from a Grand Junction detention facility, while Callahan was in the custody of the Pitkin County Jail.
The alleged victim, a teenager who attended the hearings with her mother, told Judge Seldin that she wanted a cash-only bond for both defendants and that it should be as high as possible because of what they “did to me and what I know has happened to other people.”
In setting the high bonds, the judge cited the defendants’ potential flight risk, given that more charges are possible, and the danger to themselves and the community.
No details of the alleged assault were available Wednesday. Juvenile cases are always sealed from the public, and the judge, at Nottingham’s request, sealed the arrest affidavit for Callahan as well. The DA motion detailing why the case should be sealed for the moment was also not released.
Nottingham told Judge Seldin that there are more law-enforcement reports about the juvenile.
“I anticipate charges being filed in one of those cases in our jurisdiction,” Nottingham said. “It appears there may be one in Eagle County” possibly involving charges of being an accessory to a crime, and another in Garfield County involving similar charges, although it wasn’t clear if Nottingham was referring to the current Pitkin case or the potential accessory case in Eagle County.
Nottingham said that in speaking with school-resource officers, he learned the juvenile has made threats of violence related to being taken into custody.
“I have serious concerns as to the community’s safety,” Nottingham told the judge.
Defense attorney Arnold Mordkin of Snowmass Village, representing the juvenile, said the judge shouldn’t predicate his bond ruling on other potential charges. He argued that the only count filed thus far is “devoid of any crime of violence” and that the allegation is only the juvenile being an accessory to a crime.
There are mandatory protection orders in place for both defendants, and the safety of the community is well protected, Mordkin said. Should the judge allow the juvenile to return home, his parents will need to be with him 24 hours a day, every day, he said.
“They basically cannot let him out of their sight, and that is what are prepared to do,” Mordkin said. He added a high cash bond shouldn’t be used to keep his client incarcerated and that the juvenile has little in the way of a criminal record.
But Judge Seldin said the possible other cases are “of great concern to the court” and kept the bond at $100,000.
Callahan appeared next, represented by Anne Marie McPhee, a family friend who is an attorney. She said she was making a limited appearance, and Callahan may enlist the public defender’s office going forward. His parents attended the hearing, as did the juvenile’s mother.
The judge advised him that the sexual assault charge involves use of force, bodily injury or the threat of violence. Upon conviction under state law, Callahan could receive an indeterminate sentence of 16 years to potentially the rest of his life.
Elements of the class II criminal charge can include the crime being committed while being “aided or abetted” by others, the judge said, reading from the state statute.
McPhee said the risk of Callahan fleeing is low, given that he grew up in the valley, his family is here and he doesn’t have the means to go elsewhere. She asked for a personal-recognizance bond, which allows a person to be freed on their promise to return to court, or a lower bond amount.
But Judge Seldin, in ordering Callahan’s bond remain at $100,000, maintained that Callahan’s fleeing the community is a risk because of the possible other incidents.
Both defendants are due back in court Monday.