Sex offender faces 9 felonies, including assault

Kasey Kolenut

The Mesa County District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday filed nine felony charges against a registered sex offender arrested last week in Palisade on suspicion of having sex with an underage girl.

Kelsey Kolenut, 24, was formally charged with eight counts of sex assault on child and one count of child sex assault alleging a pattern of abuse. A conviction on any one of those counts carries a possible lifetime supervision penalty.

Charging documents allege Kolenut committed crimes against the same underage girl between July 12 and Aug. 20.

Deputy District Attorney Bo Zeerip told the judge an investigation is ongoing and the case has potential to generate “voluminous” discovery.

Kolenut, who is being held at the Mesa County Jail on a $100,000 cash-only bond, said little during Tuesday’s brief hearing as District Judge Brian Flynn scheduled the case to return on Oct. 16.

Kolenut was naked with a partially-clothed 14-year-old girl when they were contacted Aug. 20 inside a car at Palisade’s Riverbend Park, according to allegations in an arrest affidavit.

While Kolenut allegedly denied having any sexual contact with the girl, she told the officer they’d had sex about 10 times during August, the affidavit said.

The affidavit said Kolenut declined to be interviewed in depth by Palisade officers.

Kolenut was registered as residing at 326 Apache Drive in Grand Junction stemming from his 2005 conviction in Mesa County for sexual assault on a child.

During Kolenut’s bond hearing last week, the grandmother of the alleged victim told a judge Kolenut had been on the campus of Palisade High School meeting students for lunch.

District 51 is working with the Palisade Police Department in an open investigation, District 51 spokeswoman Christy McGee said late last week.

“Staff at the school have extra awareness and are on high alert,” McGee said. “We have shared the offender’s photograph with school administration. We aim for a quick response to situations.”

County Judge Craig Henderson ordered Kolenut restrained from being at Palisade High School or around any children under age 18, in the event Kolenut posts bond.


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