Onlookers save boy from man in Clifton

A homeless felon was in jail Sunday after authorities say he sexually assaulted and tried to kidnap a boy from a park behind a Clifton school.

Three people saw the attack and intervened, according to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department.

Thomas Lee Dausel, 46, was arrested at gunpoint Saturday for investigation of sexual assault on a child, second-degree kidnapping, child enticement, carrying a concealed weapon, resisting arrest and obstructing a peace officer. He was being held without bail.

Deputies were called to the park behind Rocky Mountain Elementary School, 3260 D 1/2 Road, around 3:15 p.m. and found a man walking in the area of 32 1/2 and D 3/4 roads. The man, later identified as Dausel, was clenching an object in his right hand and had his left hand in his pocket, according to an arrest affidavit.

The deputy repeatedly told Dausel to drop the object and remove his hands from his pockets, but Dausel failed to comply and stared at the deputy. The deputy drew his gun and, pointing it at Dausel, grabbed him and pulled him to the ground, the affidavit said.

While on the ground, Dausel reached into his pants pocket. The deputy grabbed Dausel’s wrist, pulled his hand out of his pocket and found Dausel holding a folding knife, the affidavit said.

The boy told deputies he was skateboarding at the park when Dausel, who had been sitting at a gazebo, approached him after he performed a trick and told him he was “pretty good” and that he was a good kid. The boy said Dausel told him to come with Dausel to a semitrailer and that “no one will touch you, you just come with me,” the affidavit said.

The boy said Dausel then grabbed his arm and pulled him a few feet. He said he broke free, but Dausel hugged him, started rubbing his back underneath his shirt and touched him inappropriately over his clothes. The boy, who said he had never seen Dausel before, told Dausel to get away from him, the affidavit said.

A woman who was at the park with her grandson and a friend told deputies she saw Dausel talking to several other kids in the park and that he appeared to be drunk or high on drugs. She said when she saw Dausel grab the boy, she yelled at another woman who was walking by to call 911, the affidavit said.

Both women said Dausel then began walking toward them and the boy. They yelled for help to a man who was at the park hitting snowballs with his golf clubs, the affidavit said.

The man told deputies he yelled at Dausel to get back and raised a club in the air to strike Dausel if he came toward them. He said Dausel turned and walked away, the affidavit said.

Dausel has a lengthy criminal record in Colorado that dates back to 1986, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records. He has been arrested on charges including distribution of marijuana, trespassing, theft, harassment, driving under the influence of alcohol and failing to appear in court.

He was sentenced to prison in 2000 for trespassing, paroled and sent back to prison that same year for a parole violation. Most recently, he was convicted of criminal mischief and ordered Jan. 12 to spend six days in jail, records show.

The Sheriff’s Department did not release his mug shot Sunday night.

The age of the boy was blocked out in the arrest affidavit.


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