Multiple sex charges filed against cop

Remains jailed under $100K bond

Eight felony charges were filed Wednesday, July 23 against Cortez Police Department officer Ryan Carter.

Montezuma County Court records reveal that Carter, 29, was charged with eight counts of sexual assault on a child. Six of the felony charges allege that the defendant was in a position of trust over the child, including two that stipulate that the child was less than 15 years old and two that charge a pattern of abuse.

Filed by the District Attorney’s Office, the charges stem from incidents alleged to have occurred between June 19 and July 11. Montezuma County Magistrate Katherine A. Barnes didn’t read the charges aloud when Carter appeared before her on Wednesday.

Court-appointed attorney Katie Whitney requested that a bond hearing for her client be held within a week. Carter has been in custody at the Montezuma County jail under a $100,000 bond since his arrest on July 11. Barnes scheduled a bond hearing for 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 6.

A preliminary hearing was set for Aug. 20 after Whitney requested that one be held within 35 days.

Shackled and donning a khaki Montezuma County jail uniform, Carter avoided eye contact with everyone in the courtroom on Wednesday. Members of the child’s family sat on the second row behind prosecutors. Ryan’s family was across the aisle on the third row. Police Chief Roy Lane and a handful of other plainclothes officers sat on the back row of the courtroom.

District Attorney Will Furse didn’t address the court on Wednesday, but at an initial appearance last week, prosecutors described Carter’s alleged sex crimes as “egregious.”

The case surfaced after the child confided to a friend that she lost her virginity to Carter. Under a current protection order, the girl told investigators they had unprotected, consensual sex on three occasions.

Contained in an arrest warrant, Carter also allegedly engaged in inappropriate text message conversations with the now-15-year-old girl. Carter reportedly told her not to tell anyone, because “he would lose his job” and “not be able to see his kids.”

When interviewed by a Colorado Bureau of Investigations agent this month, Carter denied the allegations. He subsequently consented to a search of his cell phone and County Road 29 residence.

Court records reveal that Carter pleaded guilty to harassment as an act of domestic violence after he shoved his former common-law wife to the ground in 2007. The guilty plea was withdrawn, and the misdemeanor charge dismissed after a two-year deferred judgment and sentence.

A spokesperson with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office said the deferred judgment and sentence would not have decertified Carter to become a law enforcement officer.

Currently on administrative leave, Carter joined the police force in 2011.

tbaker@cortezjournal.com