Probation for Baird in sexual assault

A district court judge accepted the plea agreement of Dolores resident Colin Baird on Thursday, regarding an incident of inappropriate sexual contact with a minor.

Judge Todd Plewe sentenced Baird to five years probation and 10 subsequent years where he must register as a sex offender.

Baird, 45, was originally charged with sexual assault on a child. He pleaded guilty in January to attempted sexual assault, a Class 5 felony.

The incident in question took place about five years ago, but the investigation into Baird’s behavior didn’t arise until last year.

In April 2012, a teenage girl being counseled at the NEST Child Advocacy Center told Chris Veach, a social services case worker, about an incident that occurred at Baird’s house when she was 12 or 13 years old. The girl spent the night because she had to babysit in Dolores the next day and was a friend of Baird’s niece. She told Veach that she awoke in the middle of the night to find her pants unzipped and pulled down, with Baird watching her from across the room. He later returned to his bedroom and no further contact occurred.

On Aug. 21, Baird met with detective Adam Eastman at the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office for an interview. Eastman made it clear that Baird was not under arrest and was free to leave at any time.

During the interview, Baird admitted that one night, when his niece and her friend — both minors — were staying at his house, he inappropriately touched the friend in a sexual manner. After waking in the middle of the night and going to fill his water bottle, he noticed the television was on in the living room, where the girls were sleeping. According to Eastman’s report, Baird recalled being tempted by the “thrill of doing something so forbidden” and slid his hand up the friend’s leg and across her pelvic area. He told Eastman he was beginning to slip his hands under her pants for sexual gratification and “curiosity,” when she began to wake up and he retreated across the room.

That same day in August, Baird submitted a written statement about what happened. Shortly after the interview, he informed Southwest Open School, where he worked, of the incident and was terminated. Baird also taught at Dolores High School from 1995 to 2001. He resigned following three complaints during that span by female students about inappropriate comments.

NEST Executive Director Rose Jergens said she hopes if any other minors were victimized by Baird, that they will come forward.

“I’m concerned because research suggests that most perpetrators who put themselves in a position to be around kids have more victims,” she said. “Only 10 to 30 percent of kids ever report abuse. It’s so low that I’m afraid there are other kids keeping (abuse) secret because they feel isolated.”

The probation terms set by Plewe include restrictions on going near Dolores schools and the public library. He is not allowed east of Ninth Street unless traveling by car on Highway 145.