Defendant’s lawyer in Aspen sex assault case questions victim’s honesty
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado
ASPEN ” The case against a Nepalese man accused of sexual assault at an Aspen watering hole took an unexpected twist Monday when correspondence surfaced that could cast some doubt on the victim’s credibility.
Sohan Shrestha, 37, was in Pitkin County Court for an afternoon hearing when public defender Stephen McCrohan said the victim had lied to authorities in another matter.
McCrohan was referencing an e-mail given to him by the district attorney’s office through the discovery process. The e-mail, which allegedly was from the victim, stated she “fabricated” details of a domestic dispute with her husband.
The dispute reportedly happened last year at their downvalley home.
The victim said she was upset with her husband and essentially wanted to get back at him, which is why she lied to authorities about the fight. She also recanted the allegations against her husband.
McCrohan said the e-mail calls into question the honesty of the woman. He has sought additional information from authorities about other disputes involving the victim.
Judge James Boyd has not yet ruled on that issue.
McCrohan said he was searching for “inconsistent statements” from the victim about other alleged crimes.
Shrestha has been in the Pitkin County jail since he was arrested Aug. 26 for allegedly sexually assaulting the woman at the Cooper Street Pier. The bar and restaurant closed late last year, and has since reopened under a different name and management.
Shrestha faces one felony count of sexual assault and a misdemeanor assault count. The felony count carries a penalty of four years to life in state prison upon conviction.
Shrestha had managed the business.
He is being held on $25,000 bond. Shrestha is set to next appear in court for a preliminary hearing Feb. 6.
In other court events, the nearly year-old case against suspected drug dealer Devin Schutter of Aspen was continued to March 2. The case was set for a disposition hearing Monday amid the possibility of a plea agreement.
McCrohan, who is also representing Schutter, said those discussions have not yet happened. Schutter, 30, is set to next appear March 2 in Pitkin County Court.
He stands accused of multiple felonies stemming from his arrest last year on alleged drug-related offenses. Schutter also faces a drug charge in Fremont County.
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