After ‘lucky’ woman escapes, judge keeps bond high for alleged predator at Aspen bar

A District Court judge denied a request Monday to release on his own recognizance a man accused of lying in wait in an Aspen restaurant’s women’s bathroom and trying to rape a female tourist.

Public defender Ashley Andrews blamed the incident earlier this month on Robert Marlow’s alcohol use and intoxication, and asked District Judge Chris Seldin to release Marlow from jail on a personal recognizance bond. That means Marlow, 40, of Basalt would have been released from jail without posting any money while promising to show up for future court dates.

Prosecutor Don Nottingham objected to the request.

The allegations against Marlow — a Texas native who’s lived in the Roaring Fork Valley for less than a year — are serious and community safety is a concern, Nottingham said. In addition, Marlow has two unspecified felony convictions in Texas, a history of alcohol-related offenses and, with potential prison time on the line, he might not show up for court again, Nottingham said.

Seldin referenced video and audio of the alleged attempted sexual assault, which he said appeared to corroborate the victim’s account of the incident, and declined to lower Marlow’s bond, which had been set at $20,000 cash only.

As of Monday evening, Marlow remained in the Garfield County Jail — where Pitkin County inmates are now kept because of safety issues at the Pitkin County Jail.

Robert Marlow, 40, of Basalt was charged with attempted sexual assault, false imprisonment and harassment after allegedly attacking a female tourist in the bathroom of a downtown Aspen bar and restaurant. (Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office)
Courtesy photo

The alleged attempted rape occurred July 7 at a downtown Aspen restaurant/bar, which has relatively secluded bathrooms located down a flight of stairs at the back of the establishment. The woman, who was on vacation and had been out with a friend for drinks, told police she went to the bathroom about 1 a.m., according to a warrantless arrest affidavit filed in Pitkin County District Court.

When she entered the women’s bathroom, she said she saw a man later identified as Marlow “standing in the bathroom with his pants unbuttoned,” according to the affidavit. The woman quickly left and went to use the men’s bathroom.

“(The woman) stated that when she entered the (men’s) bathroom and attempted to shut the bathroom door, Marlow forcefully pushed the door open and (entered) the (men’s) bathroom with her,” according to the affidavit written by Aspen Police Detective Jeremy Johnson. “(The woman) said that Marlow pushed her up against the bathroom wall and started taking down his pants and boxer shorts.”

The woman began screaming “No!” and “Please don’t do this,” and “Please let me go,” then began punching and kicking Marlow to try to get away.

“(The woman) said that when she yelled at Marlow to let her go, Marlow responded with ‘You are not going anywhere,'” before exposing himself to her, according to the affidavit.

Finally, the woman was able to get the bathroom door open and run away from Marlow. She told employees of the bar what happened and they kicked him out, the affidavit states.

“‘He (Marlow) didn’t rape me, but he tried,'” the victim told police, according to the affidavit. “‘(I) got lucky and got away.'”

Video surveillance at the bar showed Marlow talking to a bartender about 1:05 a.m., before moving to a booth near the bathrooms by himself. Five minutes later, he enters the bathroom area, followed soon after by the victim.

“After approximately 10-20 seconds, you can hear (the woman) start screaming loudly,” the affidavit states. “Within the video, you can hear (her) scream, ‘Get off of me … help.’ (She) can be heard screaming for approximately 15 seconds within the bathroom area.”

An off-duty bartender who was at the bar that night later told police that she went to the bathroom area around 12:30 a.m. and saw Marlow in the handicapped bathroom with the door open.

“When (the bartender) told Marlow to shut the door, he … made a statement along the lines of, ‘I don’t know, do you want to come in (here) with me,'” according to the affidavit.

Police were able to track down Marlow after an officer took a photo to different downtown bars and one bar manager recognized him as an employee.

Marlow is facing charges of felony attempted sexual assault and misdemeanor counts of false imprisonment and harassment.


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