Aug. 4, 2010: Birgfeld’s ex-husband gets domestic violence case sealed
By PAUL SHOCKLEY
An ex-husband of missing Grand Junction woman Paige Birgfeld successfully petitioned Tuesday to have a judge seal a public case file related to domestic-violence charges.
Robert W. Dixon was granted a petition to seal a file relating to his Oct. 12, 2005, arrest on misdemeanor charges of child abuse and third-degree assault against his then-wife, Paige Dixon.
The petition was approved by Chief District Judge David Bottger during a hearing Tuesday.
Rob Dixon pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment and was sentenced to a deferred judgment, which, among other things, means defendants can ask a judge to seal the records if they stay out of trouble and successfully complete their sentence.
The sealed status of the case file means the incident essentially never happened in the eyes of the law, and the matter won’t turn up in routine background checks. Court staff at the Mesa County Justice Center on Tuesday wouldn’t acknowledge the case’s existence.
Frank Birgfeld greeted news of his former son-in-law’s legal move with anger Tuesday.
“It’s an interesting concept that those in judiciary feel it is within their power to rewrite history,” Birgfeld said. “I wish the judge had the power to make certain things involving Paige never happen. Maybe I can file a petition or get a prominent Denver lawyer to get that done.”
Birgfeld said he suspects he knows how Dixon paid an attorney to address the issue. “He asked for child support, and I’m paying it out of Paige’s estate,” Birgfeld said.
Scott Robinson, a Denver-based attorney who represented Dixon in unrelated matters, said he wasn’t retained to seal Dixon’s case file.
“Good,” Robinson said when told of Dixon’s move. “This was sort of one of those loose ends I had encouraged him to tie up. I’ve always felt the underlying charges were totally bogus.”
Attempts to reach Dixon at his home in Pennsylvania were unsuccessful Tuesday.
According to an arrest affidavit, Dixon denied any physical contact with his wife during the October 2005 incident, acknowledging only that they argued after she told him she had been performing topless massages. Paige Dixon told deputies that her husband had pushed her to the ground before slapping her on her shoulder and punching her in the throat as she held a child, the affidavit said.
Dixon, a former treasurer of the Grand Junction Rural Fire Protection District, was the focus of an investigation by a Mesa County grand jury looking at the investment of millions of public dollars into a New York-based Internet firm.
The grand jury declined indictments .
Paige Birgfeld was reported missing in June 2007, and the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department cleared her ex-husbands, including Dixon, of involvement months later.
A Mesa County magistrate awarded custody of Paige Birgfeld’s three children to Dixon.
“Rob has been very generous in allowing us to have the children during school breaks, Christmas and other holidays,” Frank Birgfeld said.