| AspenTimes.com

A preliminary hearing to determine if evidence exists to charge a local teen with raping and choking a high school girl this summer will take place in January in District Court.

A District Judge also will decide at that time whether the 17-year-old will be tried as an adult or a juvenile in that case, which was originally charged last month.

The 17-year-old – who is being held in lieu of a $100,000 cash-only bond at a Grand Junction juvenile detention facility – appeared in court Monday for the first time since Oct. 15. Dressed in a suit, he did not say anything as he sat next to his new lawyer, M. Trent Trani of Denver.

The teen also was charged Friday with raping and choking a second high school girl this summer and sexually assaulting a 5-year-old two years ago. Those two newly filed cases also will be addressed Jan. 10, the day of the preliminary hearing.

The second high school girl told police the 17-year-old choked her to the point of passing out in his bedroom in July before forcing her to take her clothes off and raping her, according to an affidavit filed Friday in District Court.

The teen's co-defendant in the first case – Keegan Callahan, 20, of Aspen – was allegedly present in the room when the second girl was assaulted, the affidavit states. Callahan was also charged with sexually assaulting the same girl at the Aspen Recreation Center, though that alleged attack took place at a different time, according to the affidavit.

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The alleged incident with the 5-year-old took place two years ago but wasn't reported by the girl's grandmother at the time. The allegation re-surfaced this summer and was investigated by the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office before 17-year-old was charged Friday in that case.

The details surrounding the first alleged rape – in which the two young men each face nine counts of sexual assault – remain unknown because District Judge Chris Seldin sealed most documents filed in connection with it. But on Monday, Seldin indicated he was likely to unseal them soon because the victim in the case has already spoken publicly and prosecutors did not ask to seal the affidavit in the second case.

"It's not clear if it's appropriate to keep in the seal in place," Seldin said. "But I think we need to look toward getting the files unsealed."

Prosecutor Don Nottingham said he would speak today with other members of law enforcement involved in the case about unsealing that case. Trani asked that the case remain sealed for at least another week.

Callahan is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Nov. 14 in the first case filed last month. He did not appear in court Monday and continues to be held in the Pitkin County Jail in lieu of a $100,000 cash-only bond.

In other court news Monday:

• A 24-year-old Aspen man pleaded guilty to felony assault and misdemeanor harassment for a drunken scene he caused at a local bar in June.

Dwayne Johnson entered the pleas in exchange for a two-year deferred sentence, meaning the felony charge will be stricken from his record if he successfully completes two years of supervised probation

Johnson challenged a bartender to a fight, spit on a doorman, then swung at a police officer and hurled racial insults at him. Johnson was almost immediately remorseful for his actions and wrote a letter apologizing to the officer the next day, Nottingham said.

Johnson must abstain from drugs and alcohol during the two years on probation and must complete 24 hours of community service.

• A Snowmass Village man will spend the next two years on probation after pleading guilty Monday to stealing a golf cart this summer and driving drunk.

Davis Henschel, 20, entered the pleas in exchange for a deferred sentence on the felony aggravated motor vehicle theft charge. The charge will be wiped from his record if he successfully completes the probation period.

Henschel must remain drug and alcohol free during those two years and complete 96 hours of community service.

"Sounds like a dumb drunk stunt," District Judge Chris Seldin said.

jauslander@aspentimes.com

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