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Jury finds Colorado man guilty of misdemeanor sex offenses

A Colorado man has been found guilty of two counts of misdemeanor sex offenses.

Three women had accused the 62-year-old Durango businessman of groping them as he led a snowmobile tour in Cascade Creek.

The jury convicted him of two of three counts of misdemeanor unlawful sexual conduct. Someone intentionally touching the private areas of another person, even if that person is dressed, constitutes unlawful sexual conduct.

During the three-day trial, the women told the court how they believed the man had violated them.

The man's attorney said the charges stemmed from one of the women being overly sensitive, which then turned into all of the women claiming his actions were sexual in nature.

But during her testimony, one of the women said the man, from behind, held onto her breasts. She said she was driving the snowmobile as he sat behind her. She then sped up and drove erratically to try to knock him off the machine.

Another woman said the man draped his arms around her waist as they rode, his hands settling near her crotch.

The jury found the man innocent of the charges that he had forced his genitals into one woman's back. He said he never made any sexual gestures toward the women.

In the one instance, he said, he placed his arms around the woman's waist so that he would not fall off as she accelerated.

The man will be sentenced March 13 in San Juan County Court.

He must register as a sex offender and could spend as long as two years in prison.

Source: Durango Herald, "Outfitter guilty of two sex counts," Shane Benjamin, Dec. 1, 2011

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