Recently, ex Greeley police officer, Daniel Shepherd, was found “not guilty” of Sexual Assault and Unlawful Sexual Contact. Just the accusation was enough to cause him to lose contact with his children and his job as a police officer and go through “eleven months of hell.” A year prior, 2011, Mr. Shepherd allegedly committed Felony Sexual Assault and Unlawful Sexual Contact on a nineteen year old woman during a traffic stop after he made her leave a party because she was too drunk.
In this case, the woman claimed that he sexually assaulted her, which means that sexual intrusion or penetration was imposed (CRS 18-3-402) and because she was drunk, legally could not have given any type of consent because her judgment was heavily impaired.
Daniel Shepherd could have had an easier time with this case if he had stayed silent as soon as he heard of the accusation and contacted a Colorado criminal lawyer immediately. Instead, he tried to avoid the sex charges against him by making up a story in which he denied the traffic stop completely. When this was later proved to be a lie, all of his credibility was gone. From trying to defend himself against a false accusation, he prolonged the process and made the job that much more difficult for his team of criminal defense attorneys.
If he would have been convicted, Mr. Shepherd would have had to take part in Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) treatment, been sentenced to up to a lifetime in prison, and would have had to register as a sex offender: all because of a false allegation.
In this case, there were no witnesses and no physical evidence of any type of sexual contact. When it is easy to make up sex crime charges, people often do. We have estimated that sex crime allegations in Denver, Jefferson, Arapahoe, Adams, and Douglas County may only be true about half the time, and false accusations are regularly made for revenge or a way to manipulate. The motives for this woman were not entirely clear, but lack of evidence and a history of false allegations in her past were enough to set this defendant free. This was not before he was arrested, jailed, removed from his family, and lost his job. It would have helped his case if he would have remembered his right is to remain silent. Trying to free himself from a false sex crime accusation only made more trouble for him and his future more uncertain.
Don't take the same risks that this man did. Remember your rights and exercise them: the first is to remain silent if you are contacted about a sex crime by Colorado Police or law enforcement. Then, call the experienced criminal sex offense attorneys at the O'Malley Law Office at 303-830-0880. Together, we can protect your future.