Man gets probation in child sex assault
A man who once worked in proximity to children at a local elementary school was sentenced Wednesday to serve 20 years to life on probation for sexually assaulting a young girl.
Miles Colunga, 52, who was convicted at trial in August on separate counts of sexual assault on a child and sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, was also ordered by District Judge Richard Gurley to serve 18 months in Mesa County’s work release program as a condition of his probation. Colunga was credited for having already served 67 days in jail.
Gurley’s sentencing options also included a possible life term in state prison.
Colunga was rejected for potential placement in Mesa County Community Corrections, Deputy District Attorney Leslie Stewart said.
A Mesa County jury convicted Colunga of sexually assaulting a girl, who was 12 at the time, between Jan. 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2008.
The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation on Colunga in December 2011 after a school counselor reported to a Mesa County Department of Human Services caseworker that a student had disclosed being sexually assaulted while in middle school, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
The girl told authorities she woke up one night and found Colunga in her bed, inappropriately touching her, the affidavit said. The girl described other alleged inappropriate actions later committed by Colunga.
When interviewed, he denied any criminal wrongdoing.
Colunga was employed as a janitor at Fruitvale Elementary School and resigned in May 2010, District 51 spokeswoman Christy McGee said. He was hired by District 51 in September 1995.
During Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, Stewart told the judge that an investigation showed Colunga, while working at Fruitvale Elementary, was moved to night-shift work after a complaint that Colunga had given a fifth-grade girl a “wedgie.”
Stewart also told the judge about an unrelated incident when Colunga was investigated for alleged inappropriate flirting with a teacher, which culminated in an incident in which the teacher’s cellphone was damaged.
McGee on Wednesday said personnel laws prohibited her from commenting on the two incidents.