Sexual assault counts dropped in Aspen yoga case

Wyatt Haupt Jr.
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” A judge dismissed two counts of sexual assault in the case of an Aspen yoga instructor, meaning he will not strand trial on the felony allegations.

There was not enough evidence to support the felony charges levied against Steven Roger, Senior Judge Edwin G. Ruland said. The judge issued the ruling late Wednesday, two days after the preliminary hearing in the case.

Each count alleged that Roger, 48, sexually assaulted a woman at O2 Aspen. But defense attorney Tamas Viski-Hanka argued that the charges were not justified, saying the prosecution was alleging sexual intrusion, which did not happen. He said that sexual intrusion must be more than “touching.”

Aspen police Detective Chris Womack testified Monday that the one victim told him Roger “slipped his hand” under a woman’s pants. Another victim alleged he also slipped his hand underneath her clothing.

But Ruland agreed with the defense. He wrote in his order to dismiss that “more than a touching is required under counts 1 and 2 to establish an intrusion” in violation of state law. He added that “counts 1 and 2 are hereby dismissed.”

Viski-Hanka could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Roger remains accused of five misdemeanor counts of unlawful sexual contact that stem from incidents that alleged occurred between 2005 and 2008.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin said Thursday that he plans to file two additional misdemeanor counts of unlawful sexual contact. Each count carries a potential sentence of 24 months behind bars.

Should Roger be convicted on any of the misdemeanor allegations, he would also have to register as a sex offender.

Mordkin has until June 15 to file the additional counts. Roger remained free Thursday on a $7,500 bond.