Ex-day-care worker in Basalt faces sex charge | AspenTimes.com

Ex-day-care worker in Basalt faces sex charge

A Basalt man was released from Pitkin County Jail this week after posting $50,000 bond following his arrest Monday on allegations he groomed and inappropriately touched two children attending a day-care center where he worked in the midvalley area.

The suspect faces a charge of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, which is a class 3 felony. A conviction of the charge carries four to 12 years in prison and up to $750,000 in fines. He is due in court Dec. 19 for an arraignment hearing, according to court papers.

The defendant, 41-year-old Christopher Tedstone, said Friday he is innocent of the charge and he plans to hire a lawyer. Tedstone is married with children. He said he wished the parents who accused him of the behavior had reached out to him prior to making the allegations. He also was fired from the day-care center in July.

“I feel like I’m being maybe discriminated,” he said. “The parents may be very protective, and I don’t know why they didn’t come to me first.”

Tedstone does not have any prior sex-related offenses, according to Pitkin County prosecutor Don Nottigham.

“These are serious allegations, and, of course, the defendant is presumed innocent,” Nottingham said, “but we will certainly do our best to know exactly what happened.”

The arrest came after the Basalt Police Department last summer fielded two complaints concerning Tedstone’s interactions with two different children in the program, which provides care for infants and toddlers and has a preschool and prekindergarten.

On July 21, the program’s director contacted authorities about an employee she fired because he had been accused of grooming a child and had work-performance issues. A parent had complained to the director that her child brought home presents from Tedstone and went to his van for candy during school hours. The mother also expressed concern that her child regularly sat on Tedstone’s lap at the end of the school day during the pickup hour.

“She did not think this behavior was appropriate,” said an affidavit for an arrest warrant, which was filed by Basalt Police Department Lt. Aaron Munch on Nov. 29 in Pitkin County District Court.

On July 29, “another concerned parent” reported Tedstone to Basalt police making allegations similar to those made by the other parent, according to the affidavit.

Both children, in subsequent forensic interviews, said Tedstone had touched them on their private areas. One child noted the inappropriate touching during her second forensic interview, but the child “did not disclose anything or did not say anything that was concerning” during the initial interview, according to the affidavit.

Reached Friday, the director of the day-care center said Tedstone had worked there since late 2019. The director declined to comment about the case because it is under investigation.