On Tuesday, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office released a news statement that a man, identified as Cole Priest, attacked a 13-year-old girl as she walked home from school. Priest was charged in 2018 with a similar offense.
The girl was walking along a trail in the 6100 block of Baseline Rd. when Priest pushed her to the ground and covered her mouth with his hand. The young girl began kicking and screaming for help. She was able to push Priest away and ran home and immediately called the police.
A short while later, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene and discovered Priest along the trail. He was arrested and charged with charged with Third-Degree Assault (M1), False Imprisonment (M2), and Child Abuse (M1).
In 2018, Priest faced misdemeanor charges of Unlawful Sexual Contact, Assault in the Third Degree, and Harassment after following a victim for several blocks before grabbing her. The victim was able to push him away and began to run. Priest chased her for several blocks, according to the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office news release.
Priest’s lawyer argued that Priest was incompetent to proceed with trial and the courts agree. Priest spent two and a half years engaging in restoration proceedings including mental health support services.
In September 2020, Priest’s lawyer asked the courts to terminate the pending criminal case based on the “determination that Mr. Priest remained incompetent to proceed, and their further finding that there was not a substantial probability that he would be restored to competency in the foreseeable future,” the DA’s news release stated.
In November 2020, the court dismissed the charges despite efforts made by the DA’s Office to keep the case active which would have ensured that Priest would continue to receive restoration treatment and medication.
After his arrest, the court set a bond of $50,000 cash, surety or property bond with conditions of no contact with the victim, no possession of weapons and continued mental health treatment.
“Although Mr. Priest was only charged with misdemeanor offenses at the time of this new arrest, the District Attorney’s Office will be working closely with the victim and law enforcement to ensure the appropriate charges and outcome,” the news release stated.
“I want to acknowledge the courage and strength of the young victim, as well as the rapid response by law enforcement. 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,” said Michael Dougherty, Boulder County district attorney.