DA sets new deadline for plea offer in Basalt High School teacher’s sexual assault case | AspenTimes.com

DA sets new deadline for plea offer in Basalt High School teacher’s sexual assault case

Brittany von Stein and her attorney, Michael Fox, depart a Garfield County courtroom in September.
Scott Condon/The Aspen Times

The court case of a former Basalt High School teacher arrested on suspicion of engaging in sex with a male student has stalled over the inability of the prosecution and defense to reach a plea agreement.

For the fourth straight month, the case was continued Tuesday to provide more time for the attorneys to negotiate.

Brittany von Stein, a former choir and music teacher, was ordered by Garfield County District Judge James Boyd to appear again July 14. Von Stein was arrested at her home in Carbondale Sept. 4 and charged with three counts of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust. She allegedly engaged in sex with a male student at her house when he was a minor.

Von Stein’s attorney, Michael Fox, told Boyd on Tuesday that he received a plea offer from the District Attorney’s Office on Monday and hadn’t been able to thoroughly discuss it with his client. He filed a motion for a continuance of the case.

Assistant DA Zac Parsons said June 23 is the deadline for von Stein to accept the deal or go to trial.

“The offer is the same offer we previously extended,” Parsons said. “We just confirmed that this is the same offer. We are not willing to change the offer despite the request to do so. We are in a position where that offer expects to expire June 23.”

Fox had sought a continuance in a May 12 hearing so he could present additional information to the prosecution team. The DA’s Office agreed to the delay so it could fully analyze all information. The comments by Parson on Tuesday made it clear that the information wasn’t enough to alter the plea offer.

“They have had an offer to think about for quite some time,” Parsons said. “I know there have been attempts to change it but ultimately this case needs to go forward.”

Boyd set the case for July 14 but he stressed to von Stein that just because the case was set for that date, it didn’t alter the DA’s deadline for a decision on the plea offer by June 23.