Former Parachute cop cleared of rape charges
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Former Parachute police officer Kristopher Joe Duncan said the worst thing about his arrest was the embarrassment of being accused of something he didn’t do.
“I think the biggest thing was the embarrassment that I would be accused of something like that,” he said. “But I knew that I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Prosecutors decided to dismiss all charges against him. Magistrate Lain Leoniak said Wednesday that she signed an order and the case will be dismissed. The 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office had been specially appointed to review the rape case against Duncan, 25.
“I’m glad this case was reviewed by an experienced prosecutor and a professional prosecutor who made the decision because Kristopher Duncan is innocent,” said Duncan’s attorney, Greg Greer.
Garfield County deputies arrested Duncan, at the time a Parachute police officer, on April 18 on suspicion of second-degree sexual assault. He was initially held in the Pitkin County jail and posted a $7,500 bond shortly after.
After Wednesday’s hearing, Caryn Sigmon, a witness, said, “I was very glad to find out that my very good friend was falsely accused of that. … I knew it wasn’t true.”
Sigmon works with Duncan’s accuser and was one of the people with them both the night of the alleged crime. Law enforcement didn’t interview her until she called a detective and told them the accuser was lying.
The alleged victim and a group of people were at an apartment in Battlement Mesa playing video games late at night. The woman accused Duncan of making repeated unwanted advances and raping her.
But the 12-page motion to dismiss charges outlines a number of reasons why prosecutors questioned her claims.
According to the motion, witnesses said the woman was asking to be introduced to single guys and asked whether Duncan would think she was “hot.” Friends at the apartment said Duncan and the alleged victim were flirting, laughing and having a good time, and that the woman asked to sleep in Duncan’s room. No one at the apartment heard any struggle or call for help, or was told about the alleged rape.
“Instead she remained, stayed silent and sat on the lap of the person she claims just raped her,” the motion states.
The prosecution also found that the woman put on Duncan’s clothes afterward, suggesting the two were comfortable with each other. The motion says the woman initially withheld from law enforcement that she had asked Duncan for an intimate act. She later admitted that and also changed her story to admit she sat on Duncan’s lap after coming out of the bedroom, the motion says.
“She decided to eliminate facts that would negate her account of a rape,” the motion states.
The woman sent a text message to a friend saying she wasn’t sure if it was rape and it seems like her fault the more she thinks about it.
The motion says the woman wanted to meet other people that night because her boyfriend was unavailable. It says it was “questionable” that the woman sent him a text message after the incident saying she was raped by a “black guy.” Duncan is white. The woman’s boyfriend didn’t believe the statement and hadn’t heard from her since.
The motion also questions why the woman would sleep in Duncan’s bed if she had just been raped.
“It would not matter how exhausted one may be, if they were just raped, the last place they would go would be to the bed where the crime occurred and the place where that person was sleeping,” it says.
A rape exam on Duncan’s accuser couldn’t find evidence of trauma or determine if sexual activity occurred.
Duncan, an officer in training who started Feb. 1, was fired from his job after the arrest. He said he’s still looking into what he’ll do and whether he’ll stay in the area, but he’d like to continue a career in law enforcement. He said he’s not yet sure if there’s a future for him at the Parachute Police Department or if he has any legal recourse for being fired based on the woman’s allegations.
He said he has no idea why the woman falsely accused him. The motion to dismiss suggests the accuser reported the incident as rape because she had a boyfriend.
Greer said Duncan is an Iraq war veteran and ex-Marine who dedicated himself to law enforcement.
“Our challenge now is just to restore his good name,” Greer said.