Glenwood man pleads guilty to sexual assault
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” A man charged with sexually assaulting a mentally disabled woman in July 2008 pleaded guilty Friday to the charge of criminal attempt to commit sexual assault-victim incapable, which is a felony.
James Garland, 67, entered the guilty plea as part of a plea agreement from the Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s Office. He also pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree burglary, while two counts of at-risk adult-sexual assault were dismissed. “At risk adult” is defined as any person, 18 years old or older, with a disability.
The DA’s office previously dropped seven other similar counts at a previous court hearing.
Ninth Judicial District Court Judge Gail Nichols asked Garland why he was pleading guilty to the charge of attempted criminal sexual assault.
“Because I am guilty,” Garland answered.
Prosecutors made no recommendations for sentencing, leaving that decision to the court’s discretion. However, Nichols said it would take some serious consideration and could take some time to determine an appropriate penalty for the crimes.
“I have not even begun to think of it,” Nichols said. “I need to go over a lot of information before I think about sentencing.”
Garland remains free on bond; his sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 7.
Possible penalties for the second-degree burglary charge range from four to 12 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections, but could be as little as two years, according to Judge Nichols.
For the sexual assault charge, Garland faces between one to three years in prison with two years of parole. Garland will also have to register as a convicted sex offender, Nichols said, and she also ordered him to undergo a psychosexual evaluation.
Garland was arrested in August 2008 after a Wal-Mart employee told Glenwood Springs police that another female Wal-Mart employee who was “developmentally disabled” was seen performing a sexual act for Garland in his car in the Wal-Mart parking lot.
The victim was once a client of Mountain Valley Developmental Services, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. Garland, who was a manager at the Glenwood Springs Safeway, acted as a “job coach” in assisting the woman getting a job at Wal-Mart 11 years prior.
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