El Jebel kidnapping case dismissed
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” A district court judge has dismissed a Colombian woman’s lawsuit, which claimed she was held against her will in an El Jebel trailer.
Paula Munoz, who is in her late 20s, left her daughter in her native country, Colombia, to work for her aunt as a housekeeper in the Roaring Fork Valley in 2007, but her trip was nothing like the American Dream, she said.
In February, Munoz filed a lawsuit claiming that her aunt, Martha Rave, of El Jebel, held Munoz captive and treated her like an indentured servant to make up the $15,000 in fees for transport to the U.S., according to a court complaint.
Munoz also accused Rave’s son, Daniel, 21, of raping and threatening her.
Faced with possible deportation and charges of harassment from her cousin, the man she claims was abusing her, Munoz filed her claim.
But on May 12, a district court judge threw the case out.
John Lassalette, attorney for Martha Rave, filed a motion for dismissal claiming that Munoz was not a Colorado resident and was not entitled to a trial.
Lassalette’s motion asked that Munoz post a $20,000 bond to cover court costs.
On May 12, a district court judge dismissed the case when Munoz was unable to produce the $20,000 bond.
“I thought the case was complete garbage,” said Jeff Wertz, attorney for Daniel Rave. “She alleged my client raped his cousin.”
Wertz said Rave was prepared to deny the allegations and fight the case, but the dismissal means the matter is out of court.
“We’ve never addressed the substance of the case,” Wertz said.
Wertz said Colorado courts are not open to nonresidents, and that it is common for a judge to require a court bond to cover the cost of expert witnesses and other court expenses.
The Munoz case might not be over, however.
The judge dismissed the matter without prejudice, Wertz said, which means that Munoz could enter a new claim, but with possibly a higher court bond.
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