By Katharhynn Heidelberg
A Delta man is accused of sexually assaulting a child following an early Halloween party at a home in Montrose County.
Jose Sanchez-Medrano, who denies the allegations, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of sexual assault on a child, a class-4 felony.
During his bond hearing Thursday, the alleged victim’s father told Montrose County Judge Ben Morris that Sanchez-Medrano had come back into the home after the party when everyone was sleeping, and without anyone’s knowledge, then assaulted the child.
“For this reason, and also the severity of the crime, I am requesting a larger bail amount … with cash-only stipulation,” the man said.
The incident was reported to the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office Oct. 25.
A juvenile told investigators that he or she awoke to the “caress” of a male hand and, after moving slightly in hopes the man would stop, the man put his hands under the juvenile’s clothing and began touching the juvenile.
Per an arrest affidavit, the complaining witness told the man, later alleged to be Sanchez-Medrano, “would you (expletive) stop,” and the man then muttered he was sorry.
The juvenile was afraid to go back to sleep and watched Sanchez-Medrano go in and out of the home a few times, the affidavit says. Per the document, Sanchez-Medrano sat and watched the juvenile and drew close to see if his or her eyes were open. The child then said, “I’m not going back to sleep, so leave me alone,” and Sanchez-Medrano again said, “sorry, sorry, sorry,” the affidavit also alleges.
Per the document, the complaining witness alerted someone else in the home and that person went outside to where Sanchez-Medrano then was and began berating him.
Montrose County Sheriff’s Investigator T. Thompson later gathered information from others at the home, who were able to help identify Sanchez-Medrano.
The home’s owner said Sanchez-Medrano had been over for a Halloween party Oct. 24 and left after dinner; she said she did not know he had returned to the home, although she confronted him in the driveway after the juvenile told her what happened.
The juvenile gave a formal forensic interview at the Dolphin House on Oct. 28, providing roughly the same information about the alleged assault as before.
Thompson developed leads indicating that Sanchez-Medrano lived in Delta and confirmed his address with police there. Thompson and deputies then contacted Sanchez-Medrano at a convenience store parking lot.
According to his arrest affidavit, Sanchez-Medrano denied having been in Montrose the night of the alleged assault, although he did say he had attended a party with his girlfriend.
When asked, that woman said Sanchez-Medrano left her house at about noon Oct. 24 and she thought he was going to Montrose, Thompson wrote. She also reportedly said he came back, but left around midnight Oct. 25 and didn’t return for more than four hours.
When questioned again, Sanchez-Medrano “finally admitted to being there for a Halloween party but stated he had left after dinner,” Thompson wrote.
The investigator then read him his rights.
When questioned further, Sanchez-Medrano denied having put his hand in the juvenile’s clothing, as well has having returned to the home after the party.
But Thompson believed he had enough to make an arrest: “With (juvenile’s) immediate outcry of the abuse … identifying Jose on scene immediately after this without her knowledge of him returning, Jose’s deceptive and changing stories, as well as the only alibi he could present did not account for the time of the incident,” he wrote.
“(Juvenile) also presented a very consistent story with the details of Jose being on scene corroborated by multiple other people.”
Once in jail, Sanchez-Medrano asked Thompson to listen to his side of the story. He said cameras at the home would prove he had left after dinner and not returned.
In court Thursday, the prosecution echoed the reported victim’s father, by calling for a high bond. Bail should be $60,000, cash-only, Deputy District Attorney Aubrey Thompson said, calling Sanchez-Medrano a flight risk, because he has family in Mexico.
Sanchez-Medrano’s public defender said his client has lived locally for more than two years, has a Colorado ID and a Social Security number, indicating he isn’t planning on going anywhere. Further, Sanchez-Medrano has a very limited criminal history, consisting of alcohol-related driving offenses.
Bond should be lower than $60,000, and Sanchez-Medrano should have the option of a cash or property pledge, the public defender said.
But Morris noted that Sanchez-Medrano has four failures to appear in court on his records and acknowledged prosecutors’ concerns that he might flee the country. Further, if convicted, Sanchez-Medrano could face an indeterminate sentence, which gives him incentive to flee, Morris indicated.
“This is the type of case that poses a grave risk of harm to children in the community,” Morris said. “ … I also have community safety concerns.”
He set bail at $60,000.
Sanchez-Medrano is next set for court Nov. 5.