Former ARC employee pleads guilty
July 18, 2005
A former Aspen Recreation Center employee who prosecutors say had a relationship with a 14-year-old girl he met at the center pleaded guilty Monday to three counts of attempted sexual assault on a child.Shaun Van Dyke, 24, of Snowmass Village, quietly answered Judge James Boyd’s questions as to why he was pleading guilty in district court.”Because I’m guilty, sir,” he said.Each of the three counts could bring one to three years in prison, meaning Van Dyke faces three to nine years in the Colorado Department of Corrections, along with up to six years of probation and fines of $3,000 to $300,000. Extreme mitigating circumstances could shorten the sentence to as little as 18 months. If extreme aggravating circumstances are found, Van Dyke could get as much as 18 years.
Boyd told him the sentences on each count could run concurrently or he could be ordered to serve them consecutively. Six other counts were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.Van Dyke was arrested on Dec. 14, 2004, after the girl’s mother told Aspen police that she believed her daughter and the former ice rink worker were having an affair.Wearing orange, jail-issue clothes, leg chains and handcuffs, Van Dyke sat beside his attorney, John Van Ness, as Deputy District Andrew Heyl listed the dates of the crimes. Heyl said the suspect attempted to have sex with the girl on Aug. 4, Aug. 19 and Oct. 6 of 2004.The girl told police that Van Dyke accompanied her to a Planned Parenthood in Denver for a pregnancy test, according to the arrest warrant. She told investigators, however, that Van Dyke would not have been the father. She was not pregnant.
Van Dyke was a part-time, temporary employee at the ARC. He worked as an ice facilities/rink operator, handling such duties as sharpening skates, running the Zamboni and teaching skating lessons.Aspen City Manager Steve Barwick said the city conducts a criminal background check on all employees who have contact with children. There was no evidence that Van Dyke had any prior arrests, Barwick told The Aspen Times in December 2004.Van Dyke will undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation before his sentencing on Sept. 12, though his lawyer said one had already been done.Heyl said input from the girl’s family may be used in his sentencing recommendation.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org