Incest suspect allowed to leave state

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A Craig man charged in an incest case will leave Colorado to visit his fiancee but the 44-year-old still won't be able to drive through Moffat County to see his attorney.

Judge Michael O'Hara ruled on those two separate motions. But O'Hara did not hear a plea from the man, who faces a maximum life term in state prison if convicted on one of four charges of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust as a pattern.

Sheryl Uhlmann, public defender for the accused man, asked for more time to review the Craig police's 200-plus page report in the case just recently received.

O'Hara moved the man's plea hearing to March 31.

The judge also approved a request for the suspect to leave Colorado for Washington. Uhlmann said the request was for a two-week visit with the man's future wife.

"There's no real basis for this and no emergency as to why this should happen," objected David Waite, deputy district attorney. "In a class-three felony case, it doesn't seem to me to be good enough."

O'Hara noted that similar requests are granted "all the time."

"I'm not concerned at all about allowing him to leave the state, but I want it to be for a specific time period," O'Hara said, allowing the man to travel between Feb. 7 and Feb. 21.

The accused -- who has a prior 1994 sex-related conviction involving a minor in Alaska -- is charged with two counts of aggravated incest, first-degree sexual assault through physical force, in addition to the four assault charges that allege patterns.

The man is charged with assaulting one of his two daughters between December 1992 and April 2002.

He was arrested Sept. 17 and held on $100,000 bond before Judge Joel Thompson reduced that amount to $30,000 in late November. The man's father posted bond Nov. 24, and the man has since lived with his father in Grand Junction.

Thompson also prohibited the man from returning to Moffat County except for court dates -- an order that Uhlmann tried to change Monday.

She cited the suspect's inconvenience in avoiding Moffat County from Grand Junction in driving to the public defender's office in Steamboat Springs.

O'Hara denied the request.

"It may take a little longer to go up (State Highway) 131, but not that much longer," he said.

It is the policy of the Craig Daily Press to not print the name of suspects involved in sex crimes unless they are convicted.

Because this case involves charges of incest, the suspect in this case will not be named even if a conviction occurs in order to protect the victims.

Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at pshockley@craigdailypress.com.

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