Ex-officer not guilty in sex assault of girl
A Mesa County jury needed less than two hours of deliberation Thursday before returning not-guilty verdicts in the trial of a former police officer accused of sexually assaulting a young girl.
Wade Daniel Langer, 37, turned and hugged family members after District Judge Thomas Deister exonerated Langer’s bond and told him he was free to leave after the three-day trial.
Langer was acquitted on 10 counts of sexual assault involving a girl who alleged she was molested from January to December 2006. He was charged with one count of sexual assault and three separate counts each of sexual assault on a child, sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, and sexual assault on a child as a pattern of abuse.
During closing arguments, Deputy District Attorney David Waite told a nine-man, four-woman jury the girl’s live testimony was consistent with her initial 50-minute recorded interview with social-services workers.
The girl, who was 11 at the time, testified that Langer asked her to allow him to “examine” her three to four times, asking her to remove her pants. On one occasion, she alleged he’d told her he was applying medicine to make her “all better,” Waite told jurors.
“Look at her reaction when she has to talk about these things,” Waite said, urging jurors to review the girl’s recorded interview. John Burkey, Langer’s public defender, argued the girl made up the assaults.
Burkey pointed to testimony from the girl’s mother that she “liked attention” and fabricated stories about herself on other issues to her family and her school classmates.
“A pattern of lies does not make the truth,” Burkey told jurors.
The girl wrote in a Christmas wish list that she still loved Langer, years after the alleged assaults, Burkey said.
“If that’s true,” Waite countered, “why did she make up three separate incidents of molestation against someone she loved? You can’t have it both ways.”
Langer was arrested in July 2009 after an investigation by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Langer was employed as a police officer for the town of Center between May 2007 and July 2008. Prior to that, he worked in the De Beque Marshal’s Office from January through March 2007.
During his stint in De Beque, Langer participated in a field training program with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department, Waite said.