More rape charges filed Friday against Aspen pair | AspenTimes.com

More rape charges filed Friday against Aspen pair

Two young men from Aspen previously charged with raping and choking a girl last summer were each charged Friday with sexually assaulting another high school girl around the same time, according to court documents.

In addition, the 17-year-old defendant in those cases was charged Friday with sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl two years ago, an incident that has been raised in the campaign for Pitkin County sheriff.

District Attorney Jeff Cheney said Friday the allegations against the two defendants are "terrible and serious. They have been and will continue to be investigated vigorously."

In the first case filed Friday, the 17-year-old was charged with sexual assault that caused the alleged victim's submission through physical force or violence, according to the documents filed in Pitkin County District Court. That assault occurred between July 20 and July 30, the documents state.

The teen also was charged Friday with one count of felony second-degree assault for allegedly choking the same girl, causing bodily injury, according to the documents.

The second young man involved in the cases — 20-year-old Keegan Callahan — was charged Friday with one count of sexual assault for allegedly raping the same high school girl as the 17-year-old, but on a separate occasion, according to court documents.

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Both were charged last month with nine counts of sexual assault — including six counts that can each carry a maximum sentence of life in prison — on a 16-year-old Aspen High School student. They each also face three felony assault charges for allegedly choking that victim July 28 or 29, as well as one count of felony unlawful sexual contact, according to previously filed court documents.

Affidavits outlining the specific allegations in that case remain sealed by a District Court judge.

However, the District Attorney's Office was required by law to file an affidavit Friday detailing the allegations against the 17-year-old because he is charged with third-degree felony sexual assault. An affidavit detailing the latest allegation against Callahan was not filed Friday because he is charged with fourth-degree felony sexual assault, which does not require the document.

The latest alleged victim — also an Aspen High School student — reported the separate rapes Oct. 11 to a school resource officer and a counselor at the school, according to the affidavit filed against the 17-year-old.

The girl said she was raped by Callahan at the Aspen Recreation Center sometime between July 20 and July 29, and she reported that the 17-year-old assaulted her between July 20 and July 30 at his home in Woody Creek, according to the affidavit and charging documents.

No other details about the Aspen Recreation Center incident were available Friday.

The incident involving the 17-year-old began after he and Callahan invited the girl to go "dirt biking" this summer, the affidavit states. They picked her up at the Intercept Lot and the three of them went back to the 17-year-old's home, where they smoked marijuana in his bedroom.

"She added that while in the bedroom (the 17-year-old) texted her inquiring whether she wanted to have a threesome with (him) and Keegan," the affidavit states. "(She) explained that she replied no, but (the 17-year-old) kept asking her the same question."

The teen then slapped the girl's backside and she told him to stop, according to the document written by Pitkin County sheriff's investigator Bruce Benjamin.

"(The 17-year-old) then told (her) to take her clothes off or he would choke her," the affidavit states. "(He) then choked (her), according to her statement, first with one hand and then with two hands.

"She stated that she was about to pass out and was gasping for air. (She) then explains that she was forced to take off her clothes, under threat of being choked again."

The girl then lay on the bed "and was raped by (the 17-year-old) while he held her shoulders down against her will," according to the court document.

Callahan was in the room when the alleged attack took place and the 17-year-old attempted to get him to join in "but Keegan just sat nearby and appeared to be surfing on his phone," the affidavit states.

The girl told Benjamin she was "frozen" during the alleged rape, and that she has tried to put it out of her mind ever since.

"I'm shutting down," she said, according to the affidavit. "I feel scared. I'm alone. … I heard they were in jail so I decided to make the report."

The 17-year-old also was charged Friday with one count of sexual assault on a child, which took place between April 15, 2016, and May 20, 2016, according to court documents. It involves a victim under 15 years old and a defendant who was at least four years older than the victim at the time of the alleged crime, the documents state.

Aspen Police Officer Walter Chi — who is running for Pitkin County sheriff — was investigated by the District Attorney's Office over the summer for the misdemeanor crime of allegedly not reporting a child sexual assault to authorities two years ago after the alleged victim's grandmother sought his advice about what to do, according to a Pitkin County Sheriff's Office report and a letter from DA Cheney.

Cheney declined to comment Friday on whether the sex assault on a child case involved the same case Chi didn't report. However, three sources who asked not to be identified confirmed Friday the charge involved the same case.

In a September letter, Cheney said he would have charged Chi with not reporting the sex assault but could not because the 18-month statute of limitations on the crime had run out.

Chi told The Aspen Times a month ago that the grandmother never mentioned child sexual crimes when she sought his advice and that he never heard information from her he thought should be reported. Police officers and others are required by law to report alleged sexual assaults when they hear about them.

The grandmother said she walked into her granddaughter's bedroom and found the then-15-year-old with his pants down, Benjamin's report states. The grandmother told Benjamin she ended up not reporting the incident at the time it occurred because she didn't want to ruin the boy's life, according to Benjamin's report.

The allegations did not arise again until this summer, when Snowmass Village Police Officer Tom Rockwell received a report about it from the Pitkin County Department of Human Services, the report states. Rockwell and Chi are listed as witnesses in the documents filed Friday charging the 17-year-old with sexual assault of a child.

The teen is charged as an adult in connection with the two cases involving the Aspen High School students. His lawyer has asked a judge to return the initial case back to juvenile court, though that decision has not yet been made. He is charged as a juvenile in the 2016 case.

Arnold Mordkin, the 17-year-old's lawyer, declined to comment Friday on the new charges. Callahan's lawyer, Abe Hutt of Denver, did not return a phone message seeking comment Friday.

Callahan remains incarcerated at the Pitkin County Jail in lieu of a $100,000 cash-only bond.

The 17-year-old is being held in lieu of the same bond at a juvenile facility in Grand Junction. The 17-year-old is scheduled to appear in District Court on Monday.

jauslander@aspentimes.com

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