Aspen teen, 20-year-old face sexual assault charges, in custody on $100,000 cash-only bonds
A juvenile boy and 20-year-old man, both of Aspen, are in custody on separate cash-only bonds of $100,000 for allegedly participating in the sexual assault of a girl earlier this year.
Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies arrested the 17-year-old and Keegan Callahan, 20, on Tuesday. A prosecutor said during court Wednesday that the suspects are likely to be arrested for similar crimes they allegedly committed in Eagle County. Additionally, the 17-year-old also is suspected of a like crime in Garfield County, prosecutor Don Nottingham said.
Juvenile cases are typically sealed from the public, which is the case with the younger suspect. However, Nottingham also filed a motion to seal Callahan’s case because it is not in the public’s best interest to hear details of the allegations at this time, Nottingham said.
While the cases are sealed, open court hearings were conducted for both suspects in Pitkin County District Court.
At both hearings, a girl who appeared to be a teenager and speaking as the alleged victim, urged Judge Chris Seldin to keep both defendants in custody under the highest bond allowed.
“I would like to have a cash-only bond and at the highest possible amount for the worry of my safety, others’ safety and his safety due to what he did to me,” the girl said during the 17-year-old’s detention hearing. “And I know this has happened to other people, and I would like for it to be cash-only, like I said, in the highest possible amount.”
She offered a similar statement during Callahan’s advisement hearing.
The younger suspect is being held in a juvenile detention facility in Grand Junction. He appeared at the hearing via telephone, while his mother attended the conference in person. The suspect was silent for most of the detention hearing.
His attorney, Arnold Mordkin of Snowmass, unsuccessfully lobbied the judge to have the suspect return home where he would be under his parents’ watch “24 hours a day, every day. As this case proceeds, they basically cannot let him out of their sight, and that is what they are prepared to do.”
Seldin, however, said the pending charges in other jurisdictions “are of great concern to the court, and the court does find that the juvenile … is a danger to both himself and the community.”
Nottingham also said that the juvenile has said in the past that he would become violent if he were arrested.
The judge set an advisement hearing for the 17-year-old on Monday, at which time he will be informed of the charges he faces.
By then, Nottingham said he expects to file charging documents for both defendants, and “the People are expecting to make a direct filing against this juvenile as an adult in district court.”
Seldin accepted Mordkin’s request that the suspect be transported from Grand Junction to Aspen so that he can appear in person for the hearing.
After the younger defendant’s hearing, Seldin advised Callahan that he faces 16 years to life in state prison for sexual assault, a Class 2 felony.
“It is alleged this is a crime of violence,” said the judge, who also denied a request from Callahan’s temporary attorney on the matter, Anne Marie McPhee, to release him on a personal-recognizance bond.
“I’m hoping for a PR bond,” she said. “He’s a low flight risk, he’s grown up in the valley and his family is all here. He doesn’t have the means to go anywhere else.”
McPhee argued that when Deputy Paul Hufnagle contacted Callahan about the allegations, “he came down voluntarily.”
“I believe a $100,000 cash-only bond is excessive,” she said.
Seldin was not persuaded.
“In light of the allegations and the risk to the community … as well as an indication from the district attorney of other incidents, does leave the court to have significant concerns for the safety of the community, and I tend to agree with the People that when these charges are at issue, the risk of flight can arise,” Seldin said.
The judge also informed each defendant that they are to have no form of communication with the alleged victim. Mandatory protection orders for both suspects also preclude them from having firearms, alcohol or drugs during the duration of the case.
Both of Callahan’s parents attended the hearing. Callahan, who is being held in the Pitkin County Jail, is due back in court Monday.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the correct age of Keegan Callahan.
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