Former Aspen astrologer pleads not guilty to charges
A former astrologer for The Aspen Times pleaded not guilty Thursday to molesting two girls, and a judge set a three-day jury trial for April.Tomas Brown, 53, of Glenwood Springs, sat beside his attorney, John Van Ness, who entered the plea in district court in Glenwood Springs.
The suspect is charged with two felony counts of sexual assault on a child. Police say he inappropriately touched the girls, who are sisters, while visiting them at their Carbondale home and told one of them she would be his “slave.” The girls, who testified during a previous preliminary hearing, will likely take the witness stand again at trial.The arrest warrant says Brown kissed and touched the bottom of the older sister’s bra, and touched the buttocks of the younger girl on the outside of her clothing while he was giving her a massage. The girls were 11 and 13 at the time. He told one girl that she was “yummy” and instructed both not to tell anyone about what happened or they would have “bad karma,” the warrant says.Brown had apparently known the girls and their family for several years and visited them often.
Under the name Tomas Gregory, he wrote horoscopes for the Times in a column titled “The Aspen Astrologer.” The column was suspended a few days after Brown’s arrest on May 9.Thursday in court, Brown, wearing a dark suit and gold tie, sat quietly with his hands clasped in his lap. He spoke only to thank Judge Dan Petre after the judge extended his $20,000 bond.
Petre noted that the trial had to take place before early May to ensure that the suspect’s right to a speedy trial was not violated. Van Ness and deputy district attorney Scott Turner agreed that three days would be necessary for the trial, which is scheduled for April 19-21. Petre set a Jan. 13 deadline for pretrial motions.Brown could face up to 18 years in prison if convicted on both counts.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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