Eagle County man gets four years in prison for sexual assault
Editor’s Note: This article contains brief descriptions of sexual assault and illegal sexual touching that may disturb some readers.
An Eagle County resident convicted of sexual assault was sentenced to four years in community prison with a mandatory parole period of 10 years in life in an emotional hearing Monday afternoon.
In July, a jury found George Brown guilty of six counts relating to sexual assault charges against him in 2019. Brown was convicted of sexual assault, a Class 4 felony; attempted sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact – two counts for the two women Brown assaulted while intoxicated in February 2019. He was found not guilty of a trespass charge for misdemeanor.
According to a police affidavit, Brown was one of seven people living in a house in EagleVail when he entered a woman’s separate bedroom while she and a visiting friend were intoxicated and were asleep – then got into bed and sexually assaulted both women during the night.
âHe killed me that day. Maybe not literally, but mentally and emotionally he did, âone of the women said at Monday’s hearing. âI’m not the same person who slept in that bed; I’m broken.”
Monday’s sentencing hearing represented the culmination of a nearly three-year court battle strewn with delays and an alleged violation of Brown’s rights to a speedy trial that went to the Supreme Court from Colorado earlier this year.
The delays resulted in 220 days in prison for Brown and immeasurable emotional distress for the two women he attacked, according to statements made during Monday’s hearing.
âAfter deciding to file a complaint, I had no idea how much time, energy, effort, confusion, anxiety, anger and frustration I would feel,â one woman said. . âI had to balance healing and participating in this legal process that I had absolutely no idea about.
“I was almost at a breaking point before we could finally go to court.”
Assistant District Attorney Johnny Lombardi argued that Brown should be sentenced to the Colorado Department of Corrections because he was on probation for a DUI case when he committed the sexual assault that night, and, shortly thereafter , he was arrested in another case in Aspen.
Reports from Brown’s pre-sentence investigation show that “he appeared to downplay the negative aspects of his behavior” and showed “a very high level of generalized defense,” Lombardi said.
“He also showed no remorse for what he did to us, and for that I won’t forgive him,” one of the women said at Brown’s hearing on Monday. “He deserves to have it follow him for the rest of his life and haunt him, just like it haunts me.”
Lombardi cited Colorado’s Sentencing Act, which states that sentencing decisions must “punish a convicted offender … based on the seriousness of his offense” and provide “an effective deterrent to offenders. other persons likely to commit similar offenses â.
âEveryone should feel safe,â Lombardi said. He asked Justice Reed W. Owens to hand down a six-year life sentence in the Corrections Department.
Denver-based defense attorney Jonathan S. Willett accused Lombardi of choosing elements of the investigation into Brown’s presentation that suited his argument for a harsher sentence.
Willett urged Owens to make “the courageous decision” to allow Brown to rehabilitate in the community, especially after having already spent “over six months in prison.”
Willett referred to another paragraph in Colorado sentencing law that states that judges must also consider “characteristics of the individual offender” when handing down a sentence.
The back of the courtroom was filled with friends, family and Brown’s mentors on Monday, a few of whom came to the front to talk about the characteristics of the offender they know as George “Geo” Brown.
“We are providing this information to the court so you can find out who this defendant is before you today for sentencing – what the other 99% of his life has been,” said Willett.
Brown’s childhood friend, Andraes Apostol, described him as a kind and caring man who supported him through all of life’s most important moments before he was consumed with addiction.
âIn recent years following the pandemic, I have seen (Brown) change my life,â said Apostol. “He was rebuilding his foundation and becoming more and more like the (Brown) I know.”
Robert Shearon, another childhood friend and sobriety mentor, said the 2019 incident was the result of “alcohol-related behavior,” adding that Brown is currently involved in several anti-alcohol programs. addiction and is showing clear signs of being on the road to recovery.
Finally, Brown stood up to speak.
âFirst of all, I would like to apologize (to the victims in this case). I know it has affected their daily life for the past three years. I know it has affected their family and loved ones, âBrown said. “I am a different person today than I was in 2019.”
Brown admitted to being an alcoholic and detailed his progress in programs inside and outside of the Eagle County Jail, where he said he is currently supervising other inmates as part of an Alcoholics Anonymous program.
After listening to statements from all concerned, Owens said the sentencing decision comes down to one thing: balancing punishment with rehabilitation and imprisonment with treatment.
Brown got a low to moderate score on his psycho-sexual assessment, meaning he is “accessible to treatment,” Owens said. He also scored low on three other tests used to assess the likelihood of recidivism.
Owens praised Brown on his frankness in admitting his alcoholism and cited his strong community support system and participation in self-improvement programs in recent years as “mitigating factors” or indicators of a lighter sentence.
However, the judge pointed out that Brown was less outspoken in admitting the sexual violence he committed against the two women, whose lives will never be the same again because of it.
âThroughout this case, there has been an understatement of the role you played in the sex offense – not in the use of alcohol, not in sobriety and your recovery,â Owens said.
Owens sentenced Brown to four years in a community correctional facility rather than sending him to the Department of Corrections, where rehabilitation programs are less available.
After serving his sentence in community corrections, Brown will be placed on “intensive sex offender supervision” for 10 years in life, requiring him to register as a sex offender.
Brown was also sentenced to 90 days in prison for violating his probation conditions when he committed the 2019 bombings. His sentence will be credited for the time he has already served in prison.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, Bright Future Foundation offers comprehensive support and advocacy. Their 24/7 hotline can be reached at 970-949-7086.
Email Kelli Duncan at [email protected]