Fourth victim claims abuse by sex suspect
Former Partners youth mentor molested him in 2011, boy says
A former senior mentor at Mesa County Partners is accused of molesting a fourth boy, an alleged victim the suspect met in a youth football program, prosecutors said Thursday.
Mark Bustamante, 50, waived advisement Thursday on two new charges, including sexual assault on a child and sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust. He now faces 11 felony charges relating to four victims.
Bustamante became acquainted with his latest alleged victim as assistant coach of a youth football team, Deputy District Attorney Todd Hildebrandt said.
Charging documents in the case allege the boy was under 15 when he was assaulted between January 2011 and December 2011.
The Mesa County Sheriff’s Department continues to investigate Bustamante’s interactions with children at other local nonprofit agencies.
Bustamante was a volunteer with youth flag football and basketball teams, organized by the city of Grand Junction’s Parks and Recreation Department, starting in August 2008 and continuing through March 2012, city spokeswoman Sam Rainguet said.
He was arrested July 3 on suspicion of molesting two boys, ages 9 and 10, between March 2010 and May of this year when he was employed as a Partners mentor.
District Judge Richard Gurley on July 12 raised bond in Bustamante’s case after a third victim, a client at Mesa Developmental Services, told investigators he was molested over five years. Charging documents said the boy was younger than 15 at the time.
Partners Executive Director Joe Higgins has said a staff member first reported to the group’s administration that Bustamante was seen hugging a child, for no particular reason, in the back of a van as volunteers and children were heading home from a rafting trip this past May. Bustamante was fired when he allegedly ignored attempts by staff to question him about the incident, Higgins has said.
He’s being held at the Mesa County Jail on $150,000 bond.