Sex assault suspect makes 1st appearance in court |

Sex assault suspect makes 1st appearance in court

Chad Abraham
Shaun Van Dyke is charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Aspen.

Shaun Van Dyke, the 24-year-old Snowmass Village man charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl, told Judge James Boyd of the 9th District Court yesterday that he plans on hiring his own attorney rather than using the public defender.Sitting by himself at the defendant’s table, Van Dyke showed little emotion during the hearing.The Aspen Recreation Center (ARC) employee faces a felony charge of sexual assault on a child. The alleged assault did not take place at the recreation center, police investigators said.

The girl’s mother called Aspen police earlier this month because she believed the teen was having an affair with Van Dyke, according to court documents. The girl apparently had met the suspect, who is married, at the ARC while she was ice skating. The mother said she believed the relationship began last spring. Van Dyke was hired at the ARC in March.Boyd, appearing by a video link-up from Glenwood Springs, advised Van Dyke of the charge against him, his rights and the possible penalties.The suspect could get anywhere from two years to life in prison and be fined $2,000 to $500,000. If he pleads guilty, he would be required to undergo a psychological evaluation.Van Dyke, wearing a prison-issued gray sweatshirt and orange pants, leaned forward slightly and answered yes when the judge asked him if he understood the proceeding.

Assistant District Attorney Lawson Wills recommended a bond of $25,000. “He does seem to have some local ties and has no criminal background,” Wills told Boyd.Van Dyke, citing his job, asked for a lower bond.”Well, your honor, I’ve just gotten out of the military, lived here a year and a half. My parents have lived here nine years,” he said. “I have a job I’d like to get back to, and I’d like to request a lower bond.”

Boyd set bond at $15,000 and forbade him from having any contact with minors.Van Dyke remained in the Pitkin County Jail yesterday evening.His next court appearance is Jan. 3 at 10:30 a.m.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is


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