I appreciate the Herald Democrat’s coverage of the legal case that drew us into the system in the blink of an eye. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Although our legal nightmare is over, we are left with more questions than answers.
In November, I contacted Cisco Tharp of Rockies Rock. I wanted answers as to how my husband was falsely charged with a crime that could have ruined the rest of our lives based on false, written statements from their counselors. He forwarded my email to his director, Beth Helmke, director of Get Outdoors Leadville. Beth has thus far refused to respond or to provide us with any answers. I also contacted Becca Katz, who is listed as a director for GOL. No one will get back to us.
Why did two counselors, Kelly Fernee and Rebecca Kohn, who are teachers in the school district and should know how dangerous false allegations can be, write false witness statements and submit these in the legal record? Since when is it not a crime to submit a false written statement to law enforcement?
Why did Sheriff Reyes write in her incident report that as soon as she found out her son was involved, she turned the case over to Deputy Reynolds? She was on my door step seven hours later to charge my husband with child abuse. Why, when I handed her my cellphone to speak with my husband, did she direct me to give the phone to Reynolds because “He is calmer?”
Why did the sheriff knowingly allow false, written witness statements to be submitted in the legal record?
Why did the sheriff refuse to talk to four people who were with Bruce that morning? In any other universe, these people would be known as witnesses.
Do we need to worry about being targeted further by Lake County Sheriff’s Office for speaking out?
Why did Assistant DA Lauren Crisera threaten to “up the charges” when Bruce refused her plea deal? Is our legal system really just a game of chicken?
Why did Bruce Brown refuse to look into our concerns? Probable cause normally includes a professional, thorough, unbiased investigation.
Would Deputy Reynolds be OK with it if someone were to falsely accuse him of a crime that could ruin the rest of his life, or would he want a complete, unbiased investigation to occur?
What has happened has not only caused pain and suffering for us. These actions hurt all of the riders on the high-school mountain-bike team, their families, and the Colorado High School Cycling League.
The actions of Rockies Rock and GOL are completely contrary to their mission statement. The actions of the LCSO directly contradict the mission statement, values, and law-enforcement code of ethics on their website. These actions have not been constructive in building community. There has been nothing “restorative” about our interactions with these organizations. Both GOL and LCSO are funded with tax dollars.
These are all questions to which we may never know the answers. But, perhaps the biggest question is for the community: What are you going to do when it happens to you?
Editor’s note: According to Helmke, GOL acknowledged receipt of Stacy Kelly’s email on Dec. 12 in an email to Stacy and Bruce Kelly. Lake County Sheriff’s Office has not stated that Fernee and Kohn’s statements were false, merely that the child witnesses did not remember the incident the way it was told be Fernee and Kohn. Lastly, Crisera said the District Attorney’s Office originally believed the charges against Kelly were warranted. The charges were dismissed after a complete review. According to Crisera, “threaten to up the charges” is not an accurate representation of her conversation with the Kellys.