Judge sentences ‘sex predator’ to 12 years

Expressing “severe reservations” about a plea agreement last month, Mesa County District Judge Valerie Robison reversed herself Wednesday and signed off on the same deal in the case of a man who admitted to trying to molest a young boy at a Clifton park last year.

Thomas Lee Dausel, 47, was sentenced to 12 years in prison, which was the maximum term available to Robison under a plea agreement with the District Attorney’s Office. The judge also ruled that Dausel is a sexually violent predator as defined under Colorado law, a label which will likely follow Dausel through his prison term, the three years of parole he must serve after prison and beyond.

Dausel pleaded guilty to second-degree kidnapping and unlawful sexual contact, while District Attorney Pete Hautzinger agreed to dismiss more serious charges, including sexual assault on a child.

The latter charge carries a possible life sentence in prison.

Dausel was arrested in February 2011 after witnesses, several of whom intervened and alerted authorities, said Dausel was observed grabbing a young boy and trying to put his hands down the boy’s pants at a park adjacent to Rocky Mountain Elementary School, 3260 D 1/2 Road.

Hautzinger said he offered the deal partially in consideration of the victim’s family, who said they didn’t want the boy forced to testify at a trial. The boy’s father told Robison his son initially refused to go outside and play with his friends after the incident.

“He’s slowly coming around,” the father said, at one point telling the judge, “12 years isn’t enough.”

He later added, “We want this to be done.”

Robison on Aug. 21 threatened to sink the plea agreement, potentially forcing a trial in the case, while suggesting it was too lenient.

The judge’s concern stems from a sex-offender assessment that included a doctor’s finding labeling Dausel a “psychopath.” The same doctor said Dausel was found to have “significant” psychopathic traits and shows a lack of remorse for his crimes.

Public Defender Steve Colvin said a second assessment contradicts the findings of the first.

“This is not somebody beyond treatment and hope,” Colvin said.

Dausel himself apologized to everyone including his victim, who wasn’t in attendance.

“I’m not a horrible person, I’m not a violent person,” he said. “I’m a drunk.”


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