Aspen man gets 5 years in sex assault case | AspenTimes.com

Aspen man gets 5 years in sex assault case

ASPEN – An Aspen man was sentenced Monday to five years in state prison for the attempted sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl in November 2007.

Jacob Frutin also must undergo intense sexual counseling while he is incarcerated and for an additional five years following his release. He faced up to a lifetime of sexual counseling, something not lost on Senior Judge David Lass, who sat in for Judge James Boyd during Monday’s sentencing hearing in Pitkin County District Court.

“The victim in this case has her own form of life sentence, and it’s awfully hard for me to give something less than that,” he said. “I guess I don’t share others’ belief in his ability to succeed … I sincerely hope I don’t look back one day and see by approving this I made a mistake.

“I will reluctantly approve this and I hope this is not a mistake. There’s only one person who can assure that.”

Frutin will be given nearly 600 days credit for time served since his arrest on March 11, 2009.

Yesterday’s sentencing hearing came after Frutin, who was represented by Public Defender Stephen McCrohan, struck an agreement in July with the district attorney’s office by pleading guilty to the transfer of marijuana to a person under 15, a class-four felony; and attempted sexual assault of a victim incapable of consenting, a class-five felony. In exchange, prosecutors dropped charges of sexual assault of a victim under the age of 15 and unlawful distribution of psilocybin mushrooms.

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Frutin was indicted by a Pitkin County grand jury in September 2009, the same week he was scheduled to attend a preliminary hearing on the same charges. But because of the grand jury indictment, the preliminary hearing, which was to be held to determine if there was probable cause to bind Frutin over for trial, was canceled.

Meanwhile, at the sentencing hearing the victim’s mother addressed the court, saying the incident will “be with my daughter for the rest of her life.”

“This is a pain like none other that I have experienced,” she said, often breaking up during her presentation.

She added: “Jacob, you did not do right by my daughter. I felt pain, anger and great sorrow.”

The mother initially reported the crime to authorities.

“Reporting this crime was not easy for me. … I did not want her to turn to me and ask why did I look the other way and not stand up for her.”

Frutin offered a tearful apology to the victim and her family.

“I never listened and disrespected my culture,” he said.

He added that he “was in denial for a long time about my character defects. … I apologize for my arrogance and egoism.”

McCrohan noted that Frutin was 20 years old at the time of the incident and the victim was two weeks shy of turning 15.

“Everything would have been legal under Colorado’s laws [if the victim was 15],” he told the judge. “I’m not saying this was OK and Mr. Frutin did nothing wrong. But the reality is we’re talking about a two-week window.”

Even so, the judge told Frutin that the impact of his crime was severe.

“I hope that you will remember what was said today, not just by me but [also by] the mother of the victim, and you feel the pain you have caused.”

rcarroll@aspentimes.com