B.C. man plans to restart life after sex assault charges dropped in Denver
Published Tuesday, October 18, 2016 1:33PM PDT Last Updated Tuesday, October 18, 2016 2:32PM PDT
A B.C. man who was charged with six counts of sexual assault in Colorado plans to move back to Canada after having the charges against him dropped.
Port Alberni native Colby Messer was arrested in Las Vegas in March after an incident with a woman in a Denver hotel room that happened in November 2015. Messer was in Denver with a group of friends to see a Broncos game when a 27-year-old woman ended up in their hotel room.
The woman said in a sworn affidavit that she didn't remember getting to the hotel but remembered being sexually assaulted in the room. Messer was accused of using several objects from the hotel in the alleged assault, which the district attorney’s office called “extraordinarily brutal.”
Originally charged with six counts of sexual assault, four of those charges were dropped during a preliminary hearing in August. And on Monday, the final two charges were also thrown out.
“The only crime my client committed was he went drinking with his friends and he passed out. There was no DNA [from Messer] on her or on any object,” said Messer’s lawyer Kenneth Eichner. “He had nothing to do with this.”
The Denver District Attorney’s office said the charges against Messer could no longer be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
“Based on what eyewitnesses told us, based on what witnesses after the fact told us, based on the DNA evidence, we felt like we didn’t have enough to go forward,” said Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey.
He said the woman did suffer injuries.
“She had injuries. There were things done that would shock you. Whether it’s consensual or not, that’s really the question,” said Morrissey.
Messer was the only person arrested in connection to the case. Eichner said the accuser also lied several times during proceedings.
“Within an hour of her leaving the hotel [after the alleged assault] there’s closed circuit TV footage of her on the phone and she was calling someone she had met on a social dating site. And then she mislead the police about it,” Eichner said. “That was really huge, not the fact that she went out afterward, but that she lied to police on several occasions about it.”
Messer pleaded not guilty during an arraignment hearing in August. His passport had been revoked while the court proceedings were underway in Denver, meaning he was not allowed to leave the U.S.
“It’s been absolutely traumatic on him, his parents, his community. To be falsely accused and be wrongly vilified like this is extremely difficult,” said Eichner. “This type of damage to one’s reputation is just horrible.”
With charges now dropped, Eichner says Messer plans to move back to Victoria, go back to work, and re-start his life as a free man.