Zachary Meints
Zachary Meints

A Boulder sex offender who reported being stabbed twice in two weeks this spring was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of false reporting after investigators became convinced he inflicted the wounds himself.

Zachary Meints, a former Boulder youth hockey coach convicted in 2012 of Internet sexual exploitation, turned himself in to the Boulder County Jail on Tuesday morning after a judge issued an arrest warrant last week.

"What's very clear from the detectives and the investigators is that they concluded that (Meints') reports of having been attacked and stabbed by a stranger were false," Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett said.

Meints, 26, is facing four counts of false reporting to authorities, Class 3 misdemeanors, and one count of attempting to influence a public servant, a Class 4 felony.

Since late March, Meints has reported a burglary at his home, threatening letters and two stabbings by unknown assailants, according to an arrest-warrant affidavit prepared by Boulder County sheriff's Detective Chris Fiegel.

Inconsistent statements, Meints' fingerprints on one of the threatening letters, his DNA on the handle of one of the knives that he said he was stabbed with and other evidence led Boulder County Judge Patrick Butler to issue an arrest warrant Friday.

"... there is reason to believe that Zachary Meints falsely reported the burglary at his residence, the threatening letters and both attempted stabbings to the Boulder County Sheriff's Office and Boulder Police Department," Fiegel wrote in the affidavit.

Calls to Meints' family were not returned Tuesday.

By Tuesday afternoon, Meints had posted $2,500 bond and was released from the jail. He is due in court on July 8.

Garnett said he plans to file charges against Meints after reviewing the case, but added that Meints is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

"It's important for the public to know that when false reports are made that the consequences are significant," Garnett said. "As this case shows, significant resources went into investigating these allegations, and the public needs to know if they are proven, the court system takes this issue seriously."

Intensive supervised probation

Meints is a former Boulder youth hockey coach who in 2011 was fired from Rocky Mountain RoughRiders, a 15-and-under hockey team, after an investigation was opened into his conduct with players.

He pleaded guilty in May 2012 to one count of Internet sexual exploitation and admitted to sending thousands of sexual texts and Facebook messages to children younger than 15.

He was sentenced in 2012 to 10 years of sex offender intensive supervised probation, which includes close monitoring of his personal relationships and regular polygraph tests to ensure he is not acting in a hypersexual way.

He is required to register as a sex offender for 10 years after his probation is completed.

Should he be convicted in the false-reporting case, Boulder prosecutors could seek to have Meints' probation revoked under the sexual exploitation conviction.

Break-in and stabbings

On March 23, Meints reported that the house where he lives with his parents in unincorporated Boulder County had been broken into.

When sheriff's deputies responded, they found that the back door appeared to have been shattered and someone had spray-painted two obscenities on the floor inside the door, according to the affidavit.

A later investigation found evidence that the glass door had been broken after the words were painted on the floor. Meints' behavior before and after the alleged burglary also seemed unusual to investigators and members of his family, Fiegel wrote in the affidavit.

In his first stabbing report, Meints claimed that on March 31 he was attacked and stabbed twice in the back by a masked assailant outside of his family's home.

Later, a forensic lab found Meints' DNA on the handle of the knife, according to the affidavit. Because it was not a mixture of DNAs, investigators believe that Meints was the only person to handle the knife, Fiegel wrote.

Meints reported being stabbed again on April 8 as he left his counselor's office near the 2100 block of Pine Street in Boulder. Meints told police he had used pepper spray to defend himself, but the spray pattern puzzled investigators, according to the affidavit.

After that incident, Meints drove himself to the hospital. The emergency room doctor told investigators he was so convinced that Meints had stabbed himself that he ordered a mental evaluation before releasing him, according to the affidavit.

Threatening letters

Meints also reported receiving several threatening letters, Fiegel wrote.

One of the letters was recovered by investigators after the burglary report and said, "Last chance to stay away from him or you r dead."

The note was written with letters that appeared to have been cut out of different magazines and pasted onto notebook paper, according to the affidavit.

A forensic test found Meints' fingerprints on many of the cut-out letters, according to court records. Many were very clear thumbprints, indicating to investigators that Meints had applied pressure to adhere the letters to the piece of paper, Fiegel wrote.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Sarah Kuta at 303-473-1106, kutas@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/sarahkuta.