Ouray County, CO

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Ouray County is located in southwestern Colorado, and has a population of approximately 5,000. Prostitution activity has been well-documented within the county, dating back to the 1800s when the city of Ouray was established as a mining town with brothels in a “red light district.” Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking. Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and demand reduction tactics have been used in the county, including arrest and the public disclosure of sex buyer identities, and employment loss. For example, in July, 2019, a longtime Ouray County Sheriff’s deputy who was promoted to undersheriff was indicted by a grand jury of the 7th Judicial District Court for sex crimes allegedly perpetrated in March, 2018. The 47 year old man was accused of attempting to lure a 15-year-old into “performing sex acts” and was indicted on two counts — criminal attempt to commit inducement of “child prostitution” (i.e., sex trafficking) and child abuse. According to law enforcement and court documents, on March 28, 2018, the teen was walking from his school to his grandparents’ house in the City of Montrose when he noticed a white truck passing several times, then parked near a dirt turnaround and appeared to be waiting for him to walk by. As the boy approached the truck, the driver asked if he wanted to play games. The teen asked, “What kind of games?” and the driver replied, “Sexual games” and “I will give you money.” The indictment explained the driver began to exit his truck, and the teen began running out of fear. Then, he called a friend and 911. He reported being scared by the confrontation with the man in the truck. The 911 recording contained “other indications of emotional trauma, including hyperventilating, elevated voice and breathing rate,” according to the report. Surveillance video corroborated the boy’s account. An officer took a screenshot of the video image of the truck and showed it to the reporting teen, who positively identified the truck as being the truck that met him at the dirt turnaround and from which the driver and sole occupant offered to “play sexual games” in exchange for money. The truck was traced to the defendant, who was interviewed by a Montrose Police Detective in Ouray County. Information gathered from the suspect’s cellphone about which cell towers the phone “pinged” shows that his phone was not at his residence all day on March 28, 2018, and the information was further consistent with the phone being in the vicinity of the teen who reported the incident. The suspect was eventually arrested and terminated from his position with the Ouray County Sheriff’s Office.  In April, 2020 (two years after the incident), the man was convicted and received a 1-year unsupervised probation sentence in a plea agreement. He was originally indicted by a grand jury for charges of criminal attempt to commit inducement of child prostitution and child abuse, but the victim was unable to testify. The 7th Judicial District Attorney said he could not elaborate on the circumstances, but his office was given permission to tell the court that part of the reason the victim was unavailable to testify was due to post-traumatic stress disorder related to the incident.

Key Partners

  • Ouray County Sheriff’s Office
  • 7th Judicial District Attorney’s Office
  • Montrose Police Department
State Colorado
Type County
Population 5035
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