Key witness in alleged jail sex assault case recants
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
A former Garfield County Jail inmate who says she first reported that a detention officer at the jail sexually assaulted another female prisoner is now retracting that report.
Mary Flammond, 22, of Glenwood Springs, also gave the Post Independent a copy of a letter she said was sent to her by the alleged sexual assault victim, 28-year-old Glenwood Springs resident Elsa E. Gonzalez-Murillo.
In the letter, dated July 21 and postmarked from the Pitkin County Jail on July 22, Gonzalez wrote that she plans to file a lawsuit against Garfield County in connection with the sexual assault case.
“As soon as I get out of jail, I’m going for a lawsuit [against] Garfield County Jail,” Gonzalez wrote.
She also wrote that she knows the accused guard has been suspended from his job.
“It already came out in the newspaper,” she wrote.
Flammond said she was Gonzalez’s cellmate in Garfield County Jail. In an interview Friday with the Post Independent, Flammond said Gonzalez told her about plans to “set people up and then get money in the end.”
Gonzalez, who spent jail time in the Garfield, Mesa and Pitkin county jails before being moved to Summit County Jail on Friday, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Flammond said Gonzalez manipulated her into reporting the alleged sexual assault to authorities.
“I was really depressed and going through issues,” she said. “She used my leg to step on.”
But at some point later, Flammond said she felt bad about falsifying the report, so she recanted it.
Flammond said in her original report she told investigators that she saw a sexual assault take place in the control room of the Garfield County Jail.
“Later on, I ended up coming clean that I didn’t really see inside the control room. I told them the truth about what was actually going on … I was manipulated. She just took advantage of it,” Flammond said of Gonzalez.
“I think [the jail guard] is a nice guy, and I don’t think he deserves to be suspended for false allegations,” she added.
The name of the jail guard suspected of sexually assaulting Gonzalez has not been released because he has not been arrested nor charged.
On July 24, Gonzalez called The Aspen Times from Pitkin County Jail to say she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by a detention officer in Garfield County Jail and then was told to keep quiet about it.
Gonzalez was originally in the Garfield County Jail serving a 180-day sentence for driving on a suspended license while on probation. She claims the alleged sexual assaults took place in June over a period of two weeks in the control room, which has mirrored glass that allows guards to look out on the inmate population without being seen.
Flammond said despite her original report, her bad eyesight and the one-way mirrors at the jail made it impossible to see what was going on inside the control room.
Flammond said Gonzalez’s story is false and she thinks the call to The Aspen Times is all part of her plan to file suit against Garfield County.
Because the jail is in Glenwood Springs and the incident involves an allegation against a Garfield County Sheriff’s Department jail guard, the Glenwood Springs Police Department investigated the allegations. Four statutes are being investigated: sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact, unlawful sexual conduct in a penal institution and first-degree official misconduct.
A report on the investigation, which hasn’t been released to the public, was given to 14th Judicial District Attorney Bonnie Roesink in Craig. She said Tuesday that some follow-up investigation is still being done by her office and by Glenwood Springs police, and she’s not yet sure if charges will be filed.
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The Roaring Fork School District began its transition of bringing students back to school for in-person learning on Monday, starting with K-3. If all goes well, grades 5-8 will start Oct. 26 and high school students on Nov. 2.