Cooper Street Pier manager faces sexual assault charge
August 29, 2008
ASPEN ” A Cooper Street Pier manager is accused of sexually assaulting one of his employees in the restaurant’s basement during closing hours.
Sohan Shrestha, 36, remained in Pitkin County jail on Thursday on a $15,000 bond in connection to one felony charge of sexual assault, which carries a prison sentence of four years to life if he is convicted. Aspen police officer Jim Crowley arrested Shrestha on Tuesday while he was working at Cooper Street Pier.
Shrestha, who was advised of the charges Wednesday in Pitkin County District Court, also faces a misdemeanor third-degree assault charge, punishable by six to 24 months in jail.
Details of the case became available in Pitkin County District Court records released Thursday.
An affidavit, prepared by Crowley, outlines the case against Shrestha, who allegedly committed the crimes in the early hours of Aug. 20, after the bar had closed. That morning, the alleged victim and two Cooper Street Pier employees ” one of whom was Shrestha ” had gone into the basement of the restaurant to help remove the cast off of her broken arm.
After the cast was taken off, and the other employee returned upstairs, Shrestha began to kiss and grope the woman before throwing her to the ground, according to the accuser’s statement to Crowley. A struggle ensued, and the alleged victim managed to escape, Crowley’s affidavit says.
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The alleged victim then fled to the alley behind Cooper Street Pier and spotted a police car, according to the affidavit. She hitched a ride with a patrol officer, and later that day met with Crowley and described the alleged attack. The victim also gave Crowley details of her efforts to fight off Shrestha, but “she was not sure what else she did because she was intoxicated,” Crowley wrote in the affidavit.
On Aug. 20, Crowley also interviewed Shrestha, who maintained his innocence and suggested that the alleged victim was making the accusation because “everybody hates me right now” and “because I don’t know how to run my place.”
Three days later, on Aug. 23, Crowley returned to Cooper Street Pier to present Shrestha with a “consent to search” form, which allowed Crowley to take fingernail clippings from Shrestha and examine the suspect’s injuries from the alleged sexual assault, according to the affidavit.
Shrestha had four bite marks on his left shoulder and upper left arm and three scratch marks on his back ” bruises Shrestha said were given to him by the accuser “because he would not supply her with cocaine,” Crowley’s affidavit says. In the affidavit, however, Crowley theorizes that the “injuries to Shrestha were attempts by [the alleged victim] to escape.”
A nurse at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs, where the alleged victim was taken for an examination, appeared to concur with Crowley’s findings, the affidavit says. The nurse said the injuries of the alleged victim, who was brought to the hospital on Aug. 21 by Aspen Police Detective Chris Womack, “were consistent with someone who had been sexually assaulted,” Crowley wrote in the affidavit.
Crowley declined to discuss the case when contacted Thursday.