Sexual assault suspect to face trial | AspenTimes.com
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Sexual assault suspect to face trial

A judge ruled Monday that there is enough evidence against a California man to try him on a charge of sexual assault on a child.The preliminary hearing for Stephen Harrison, 49, of Ross, Calif., was closed to the public because of testimony by the alleged victim, who is 8. Prosecutor Gail Nichols played a DVD of an interview with the girl and also called Aspen police Detective Eric Ross to the stand, according to a court document.Harrison’s lawyer did not make a statement or call any witnesses. Judge James Boyd ruled there was probable cause for him to be tried on the charge.Harrison was arrested in late December in San Francisco. He and his family had joined another family at a home near Hunter Creek in Aspen to celebrate the holidays, the arrest warrant says. The adults went out to the Caribou Club on the night of the incident, but Harrison left early, according to the warrant.Upon returning to the home, the girl’s mother allegedly found the defendant in bed with the victim. The girl told a doctor about the alleged assault and told Ross that Harrison covered her mouth when she yelled out for her mother, the warrant says. Harrison told police he was intoxicated and didn’t remember anything about the night.The warrant indicates that the girl’s mother was told several times not to call police after the alleged incident. Harrison is part of a prominent family in Marin County, Calif., and the mother’s ex-husband said in a police report that he was “concerned about the social ramifications of this incident.”The mother also alleged her ex-husband stripped the bed linens and washed the girl’s clothes. Police took sheets, a mattress pad and a comforter into evidence.An arraignment is scheduled for June 5. Harrison’s lawyer asked Boyd to amend the mandatory protection order in place against Harrison. The new order will allow Harrison to visit his wife’s home to see his children.Boyd agreed to the new order but stipulated that the defendant provide a map of his route to and from the home to avoid the girl’s hometown. He must also submit his visitation schedule a week in advance to his lawyer and the district attorney’s office.If convicted, Harrison faces from eight years to life in prison.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is chad@aspentimes.com


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