Camper arrested for allegedly molesting girls |

Camper arrested for allegedly molesting girls

Jason Auslander
The Aspen Times

Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies arrested a 50-year-old unemployed construction worker Thursday and charged him with sexually assaulting two young girls who were camping next to him last week with their parents, according to court documents.

District Judge Gail Nichols ordered Mark Damman held on a $10,000 bond Friday after he was charged with two counts of sexual assault on a child. Nichols also instituted a restraining order forbidding Damman from having any contact with the two girls or their mother and father.

Both girls are younger than 10, and the family is from the Roaring Fork Valley, sheriff’s investigator Bruce Benjamin said.

The girls’ parents reported the incident about at 10:45 p.m. Aug. 13, not long after their daughters told them Damman had touched them inappropriately over their clothes, according to an arrest warrant filed in District Court.

The parents told Benjamin they had been camping at the site for 4 or 5 days and that Damman had set up camp 30 to 40 yards away a day or so after they arrived, the warrant states. The warrant was redacted because of the girls’ ages, so the exact campground in Pitkin County where they were staying was not available.

The family became acquainted with Damman, though they said he appeared to hang around most of the day drinking beer and whiskey, the report states. The parents told investigators the family had dinner with Damman on Aug. 13 between about 5 and 5:30 p.m.

At some point, Damman had cut up firewood, and when he returned his chainsaw to his campsite, the two girls went with him, the report states. When the girls hadn’t returned after about 10 minutes, their father called out to them. They didn’t respond at first, then came back to their campsite, the report states.

Later, when the parents were getting the girls ready for bed inside the family’s tent, one of them said they had a “secret” with Damman. The parents asked what that was, and the girl said he had touched her on the outside of her clothing in her vaginal area and that she’d seen his penis, the report states.

One or both of the parents went to Damman’s campsite and confronted him, but he denied touching the girls. He was visibly intoxicated at the time, the report states. Damman later denied inappropriately touching the children to investigators, who that night gave him a ride to his brother’s house in Carbondale rather than leave him near the family.

The two girls were later interviewed by trained forensic investigators at a facility in Glenwood Springs, and both admitted that Damman touched them inappropriately, the report states. One also said Damman threatened to kill her, her sister and her parents if she told them what happened.

Damman does not have an address and works construction and temporary jobs, according to court documents.