91-year-old arrested on rape charge
October 24, 2007
PALISADE, Colo. ” A 91-year-old resident of the Palisade Living Center and convicted sex offender was jailed Sunday on suspicion of attempted rape against a nurse there.
After being given his medication by a nurse, Ralph Ridenour grabbed her, held her, attempted to remove her pants, and repeated that he would rape her, according to his arrest affidavit. Palisade is in western Colorado, east of Grand Junction,
Ridenour was being held on $3,000 cash bond at the Mesa County Jail in Grand Junction. Charges include criminal attempt to commit unlawful sexual contact using force and false imprisonment using force.
Ridenour has a reputation of being violent, the affidavit said.
The victim told Palisade police “everyone is very careful in his room because he becomes violent when he does not get his way,” the affidavit said.
He’s not a little, old, frail man, said Sgt. Bobby Sowler of the Palisade Police Department, who said the incident scared the nurse “very badly.”
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Ridenour also fakes senility, according to Sowler.
“His doctor was called and his doctor said he knew right from wrong,” the sergeant said. “Sometimes he has dementia, sometimes he doesn’t … it’s only when it suits him.
“Everyone who works there says he’s full of it. He’s just taking advantage of the system as he can,” Sowler said.
Ridenour became combative when questioned by police. According to the affidavit, he kicked and threatened to shoot an officer.
Later, when Ridenour was placed under arrest, “Ralph suddenly appeared unable to walk to help himself,” so authorities used a wheelchair when they transported him to the police car, the affidavit said.
“This poor, delicate old man even had energy to kick the officer,” Sowler said. “But when it came time to get out to the police car, he needed help. It was an act.”
Ridenour was convicted in March 2000 of sexual assault on a child, Sowler said. The charge stemmed from an incident in December 1999.
Ridenour was also charged with failing to register as a sex offender in July 2006, according to Mesa County records.