Bond raised to $1 million for sex assault fugitive

District Judge Brian Flynn on Tuesday increased bond to $1 million for a Grand Junction man wanted in West Virginia on suspicion of 96 counts of sexual assault on a child.

Howard J. Dotson, 60, indicated Tuesday through an attorney that he will fight extradition to West Virginia.

Dotson was accused of sexually assaulting four girls, all under age 10, from roughly the early 1970s through 1982, Deputy District Attorney Todd Hildebrandt told the judge.

Authorities in Boone County, W.Va., allege he failed to appear at a plea hearing in September 1998, when he faced a lengthy prison sentence.

An arrest warrant was issued in Boone County on Sept. 23, 1998. It’s unclear how long Dotson has lived and worked in the Grand Valley. He has a home and family here, Hildebrandt said.

Hildebrandt also told the judge Dotson is under investigation in Mesa County, but he didn’t delve into specifics.

The prosecutor asked Flynn to increase Dotson’s bond because of suspicious circumstances surrounding his arrest on Sept. 27 after a traffic accident investigated by the Colorado State Patrol.

According to an arrest affidavit, Dotson and a girl, 10, suffered minor injuries when a Dodge Caravan rolled onto its top at the intersection of Coffman and 31 roads. An emergency responder told a state trooper that Dotson claimed to know very little about the girl who was in his van.

“(EMT) told me that when he asked the girl what they were doing out in Whitewater, she told him she didn’t want to talk about it,” the affidavit said.

Dotson provided the trooper a driver’s license with a false identity and later failed a roadside sobriety test, the affidavit said. The affidavit does not specify how troopers learned Dotson’s true identity.

“When Sgt. Schimek confronted the man with the name Howard Dotson, he was quiet and did not say anything,” the affidavit said.

Dotson on Tuesday formally was charged with criminal impersonation, child abuse resulting in injury, drunken-driving, driving without a valid license and false reporting.

He’s scheduled to return to court on the new case, and his extradition matter, early next month.


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