Three more say they were groped

— Three more women have accused a 44-year-old Steamboat Springs man of groping them, police said. The man already is charged with groping a 15-year-old girl.

The women came forward after one of them made the allegation to a therapist, who called police, Steamboat Springs police Capt. Joel Rae said.

The man owns a business that employs all four of women, Rae said. He said he did not know the name of the business.

The new accusations were made by women ages 22 to 25, Rae said.

The man has been charged with one count of having sexual contact with a non-consenting party, a Class 1 misdemeanor, after an accusation by the 15-year-old girl.

Rae said he did not know whether the man would be arrested or whether more charges would be filed.

The women said the assaults happened at the end of Novem--ber or the beginning of Dec--ember, according to police reports.

The women did not come forward immediately because they feared losing their jobs, Rae said.

The man, a longtime Routt County resident, was arrested Dec. 22 on suspicion of groping the 15-year-old girl at a construction site near Routt County Road 14 and Colorado Highway 131, Routt County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Dan Kelliher said in an earlier interview.

The girl made the allegation to her sister, who called authorities, Kelliher said.

The man was arrested at his home later that day and was released from Routt County Jail after posting $5,000 bond, Kelliher said.

Three assaults were alleged to have occurred in the county, which is why detectives at the Sheriff's Office are investigating, Rae said.

The police department is investigating the case of a woman who said she was groped at a house within city limits, Rae said.

Routt County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Ray Birch said Thursday his investigators would not release information about the case because of its sensitive nature and for fear of compromising the investigation.

He said investigators would release more information after they had had time to conduct interviews.

The man appeared in Routt County Court on Wednesday, where his attorney asked County Judge James Garrecht to continue the case for several weeks.

Deputy District Attorney Tammy Jenson told Garrecht that she did not oppose continuing the case but was concerned that the case should not be continued longer than three weeks.

The man is scheduled to appear in court at 10 a.m. Jan 25.

-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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