An Ohio man who pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual contact in a 2015 case was sentenced Friday to probation and community service.
Andrew Blake Dutton-Topper, 33, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual contact, a Class 1 misdemeanor, in October.
On Friday, Boulder District Judge Thomas Mulvahill sentenced Dutton-Topper to five years of probation and 200 hours of community service. While the probation is not sex offender probation, Dutton-Topper will have to register as a sex offender and complete sex offense treatment.
He will be allowed to ask to move the probation to Ohio, but will be required to stay in Colorado until the switch is approved.
According to an affidavit, Dutton-Topper and the named victim were co-workers, and both went to the woman’s apartment in Longmont after their shift ended late on March 31, 2015.
The woman told police that Dutton-Topper came on to her, but she told him that she didn’t want to have sex. Eventually she fell asleep and, sometime in the morning, she said Dutton-Topper sexually assaulted her before she was fully awake.
She told him no again and left the room.
The woman called police the next day and went for a sexual assault examination that found injuries to her genital area. She initially declined to press charges, but contacted police in December 2017 to file charges.
The pre-sentence report recommended probation, but Boulder Deputy District Attorney Michael Petrash asked for an additional jail work release sentence due to the serious nature of the offense.
“(The victim) has been suffering from this offense since 2015,” Petrash said.
The woman also spoke in court, saying she has trouble sleeping at night because that is when she was victimized.
“I was robbed of all of my sense of security,” she said. “It’s something that I’m going to have to continually learn to live and cope with.”
But Dutton-Topper’s attorney Nelissa Milfeld pointed out that in the time since the incident, Dutton-Topper has worked to stabilize his life. She said he has been sober for years, has a wife and kids and two jobs in Ohio.
“All of that I think speaks to Mr. Dutton-Topper’s character and his willingness to make himself a better contributing member of society,” Milfeld said.
And while the case has been set for trial several times and Dutton-Topper has said he still does not remember that night, Milfeld said Dutton-Topper was accepting responsibility by taking the plea deal.
“Mr. Dutton-Topper didn’t want to put himself through that process, he didn’t want to put (the victim) through that process,” she said. “He understands the deep pain he has caused her.”
Mulvahill agreed that sentencing Dutton-Topper to jail or work release in Colorado could possibly undo the strides he made, and would ultimately do more harm than good and be “counterproductive” to the court’s goal of rehabilitating offenders.
Mulvahill said the case was unusual because of the time that had passed between the incident and the legal resolution, giving time for Dutton-Topper to make positive changes to his life.
“Mr. Dutton-Topper has changed the course of his life, and I would say to a significant extent,” Mulvahill said. “The practical reality is that he lives in Ohio. He’s got stability there because of his employment and because of his family, all of which would be substantially interrupted by a work release sentence.”
But while Mulvahill largely agreed with the pre-sentence report’s recommendation of three years of probation and 120 hours of community service, he felt his final sentence of five years and 200 hours added a punitive sanction was more appropriate.
“There should be a punitive sanction,” he said.