Friday, August 7, 2009

Timothy Adam Stary Charged with Sexual Assault

A judge upheld three sexual assault charges against a former juvenile-detention employee Thursday during a preliminary hearing in District Court.

The ruling means prosecutors can proceed with felony charges against Timothy Adam Stary, 31, a former shift supervisor at the Robert E. DeNier Youth Services Center.

The three charges include one count of sexual assault on a child and two counts of sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist.

District Judge Jeffrey Wilson needed more time to determine whether prosecutors can charge Stary with two counts of sexual conduct in a penal institution. There was some question about whether DeNier is considered a penal institution under Colorado law because it is not overseen or operated by the Department of Corrections.

Stary is suspected of performing sexual acts with a 17- and a 19-year-old inmate at DeNier.

The alleged assaults occurred between October 2008 and January 2009.

According to an arrest affidavit, Stary had sexual intercourse with the 19-year-old woman on five different occasions inside the jail. He groped the 17-year-old girl on about four different occasions, the affidavit said.

The alleged sexual contact with the 19-year-old was consensual, but it is prohibited in a penal institution or if Stary can be considered a psychotherapist.

Jay Koedam, program director at DeNier, said Stary counseled inmates and acted as a mentor or parent to them.

Stary worked at DeNier from January 2008 to February 2009.

The alleged sexual contact with the 17-year-old girl was nonconsensual, according to the affidavit.

DeNier is a juvenile-detention center located in Bodo Industrial Park. The facility is owned by the state and operated by Rite of Passage, a private company based in Nevada.

In a written statement e-mailed to The Durango Herald on Thursday, Koedam said there have been no allegations of this kind in DeNier's 10-year history.

"I ask the community not to judge the DeNier center, its staff and the 10 years of its positive work solely on the alleged actions of one individual," Koe-dam wrote.

He said all DeNier employees are thoroughly interviewed and are required to pass state and federal background checks. Stary passed the background checks, had no previous allegations of impropriety and received "boundary training," the e-mail statement said.

"The DeNier Center's ultimate responsibility is to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all of the individuals in our care," Koedam wrote. "We have, and will continue to fully cooperate with the investigation in coordination with the Division of Youth Corrections policies to ensure that justice is served."

Stary appeared Thursday in court wearing shackles and a jail-issued jumpsuit.

He is being held in the La Plata County Jail on $100,000 bail.

An arraignment and bond hearing is set for Aug. 13 in La Plata County.

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