Craig man accused of child sexual assault, incest | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig man accused of child sexual assault, incest

Prosecutors want a Craig man to be held without bail after he was charged this week with the rape of a family member.

Rick Barnes, 53, was arrested Tuesday, Aug. 6 on felony charges of sexual assault, sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, and aggravated incest.

According to an arrest affidavit compiled by Moffat County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Gary Nichols, police in Craig responded to a local hospital in October 2018 after the victim’s neighbor reported the victim had run to their residence in the early morning hours claiming a rape by Barnes had just occurred.  

With the victim’s name redacted, the affidavit stated that Barnes entered the victim’s bedroom in the early morning of Oct. 7, pulled back the covers on the bed where the victim was sleeping, pulled down the victim’s pajamas and underwear and began raping the victim.

Rick Barnes, 53, was arrested Tuesday, Aug. 6 on felony charges of sexual assault, sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, and aggravated incest.
Courtesy Photo

Police said the victim told Barnes to stop several times, and the victim later described to them in detail how, after Barnes was through, the victim kicked out the screened bedroom window and ran immediately to the neighbor’s home.

Police said the neighbor immediately took the victim to the hospital after the victim told the neighbor there was still DNA evidence on the victim’s person.

The affidavit said sexual assault nurse examiners completed their examination of the victim and seized the victim’s undergarments as evidence in the sex assault kit, which was then sent to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation on Oct. 17 along with four swabs of Barnes’ DNA for analysis. 

In the meantime, the affidavit said police continued conducting interviews with the victim, who told them Barnes had molested the victim on numerous occasions beginning when the victim was 12 years old. The affidavit said the victim told police Barnes first had intercourse with the victim when the victim was 15 years old.

The victim was removed from Barnes’ home by the Department of Human Services during this time.

Police then turned their investigation toward Barnes, who agreed to a voluntary interview Oct. 7 in which Barnes repeatedly denied engaging in inappropriate activity with the victim due to a medical problem that prevented him from engaging in any kind of sexual intercourse. 

Police asked Barnes if his DNA would be found on any particular parts of the victim’s body. Barnes denied police would find his DNA on any place other than the victim’s forehead from where he kissed the child goodnight.

On July 18, investigators received lab results from CBI. According to the affidavit, the DNA lab tests showed Barnes’ DNA — much of it seminal fluid — on the victim’s genitalia and undergarments.

On Tuesday, police conducted their final interview of Barnes, this time with their newfound DNA evidence in hand.

The affidavit stated that during the interview, Barnes “confessed to two incidents where he had had a sexual encounter” with the victim, claiming the child pushed him to have sex with them to get their own way and “get out of the house.”

“Rick Barnes described (redacted) as provoking him into having sex with (redacted),” the affidavit said, which further detailed Barnes’ confession about the events of Oct. 7.

Barnes appeared Tuesday afternoon via video conference in Judge Sandra Gardner’s courtroom from the Moffat County Jail. Gardner read the charges against Barnes, who said little other than to acknowledge the judge’s questions.

Prosecutors want Barnes held without bail due to the serious charges against him and plan to present the evidence required by statute within 96 hours of Barnes’ arrest to keep him in jail.

“I am asking this court to set no bond for Mr. Barnes understanding that kicks into factor certain procedures,” said Matthew Tjosvold, one of the 14th Judicial District’s assistant district attorneys in Craig.

Tjosvold said the evidence he’ll present will speak for itself.

“The proof in this case will be evident to the court,” Tjosvold said. “The victim alleges multiple acts of sexual penetration and sexual intrusion… The people have secured evidence… specifically DNA evidence that has confirmed those acts.”

But Barnes’ public defender, Abigail Kurtz-Phelan, presented evidence her client has no criminal history, is not a travel risk because he owns his own home locally, and has deep roots in Moffat County.

“It appears this investigation has been going on for quite some time and the police have contacted Mr. Barnes several times during that time,” Kurtz-Phelan said. “Mr. Barnes has not fled the state or avoided police officers.”

Kurtz-Phelan requested Tuesday Barnes be given a $25,000 bond.

“I would ask the court set a bond in the amount of $25,000 cash or surety,” she said. “I think that’s significant, and I think that would ensure Mr. Barnes’ continued cooperation.”

Judge Gardner decided Barnes will not be allowed to possess firearms or ammunition and can’t have any contact with the victim or witnesses in the case. But Gardner said she will wait until Thursday’s hearing to decide whether to grant Barnes a bond. 

“Mr. Tjosvold is requesting a proof-evident hearing and the court is going to grant that,” Judge Gardner said. “Until that hearing occurs, there will be no bond set.”

At Thursday’s hearing, court officials decided to move Barnes’ proof-evident hearing after Barnes agreed to waive his right to have the hearing within 96 hours to give Kurtz-Phelan more time to acquire her own discovery and evidence.

Barnes’ proof-evident hearing was scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 21 at 9 a.m. in Judge Gardner’s courtroom No. 2.