DA: Man accused of grabbing Platt Middle student had similar 2018 case

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Sep. 14—Prosecutors said a man accused of grabbing and pushing a girl who was walking home from Platt Middle School on Tuesday was accused of something similar in 2018, but that case was dismissed due to competency issues.

Cole Priest, 32, has been charged with third-degree assault, false imprisonment and child abuse.

According to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, a girl told police she was walking home when she was grabbed and pushed down by a man on the walking trail near the school at 6096 Baseline Road, just east of Boulder.

She escaped by kicking and pushing the man away while screaming for help, according to a news release. After the girl got away, she called 911 and described the man to law enforcement.

Deputies encountered Priest in the area and noted he matched the description. Priest admitted to encountering the girl and said she was screaming, but said he did not remember why he was on the trail or if he grabbed the girl.

Priest also told deputies he had schizophrenia.

According to the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office, Priest in 2018 was accused of following a woman in Boulder for several blocks before he grabbed her from behind, pinned her arms up against her body, reached down and forcefully grabbed her buttocks. After the woman pushed Priest away, but he chased her for several blocks as she ran away.

He was charged in that case with third-degree assault, unlawful sexual contact and harassment, but was declared incompetent to proceed and underwent treatment for two years while the case was on a mental health hold.

In September 2020, Priest’s attorney requested the court terminate the case against based on the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo’s determination Priest remained incompetent to proceed would likely not be restored to competency in the foreseeable future. The state hospital also determined Priest did not meet the criteria for civil commitment.

The District Attorney’s Office “strenuously objected” to the dismissal of the charges and asked that Priest at least continue to receive restoration treatment and medication. But the courts dismissed the charges in November 2020.

Due to this prior case, prosecutors asked for a higher bond in the current case despite Priest facing misdemeanor charges. He is in custody on $50,000 bond and is set for an arraignment on Oct. 19. His booking photo has not been made available.

“I want to acknowledge the courage and strength of the young victim, as

well as the rapid response by law enforcement,” Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said in a statement. “This situation with the prior case demonstrates numerous concerns, including the lack of adequate mental health treatment throughout Colorado and the impact on community safety. Our office is committed to fighting for the right outcome in this case.”

EMEA Tribune is not involved in this news article, it is taken from our partners and or from the News Agencies. Copyright and Credit go to the News Agencies, email [email protected]

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