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Teen pleads guilty to burglary, sex assault


By Shane Benjamin Herald staff writer

A Durango man who broke into a house and raped a woman faces eight to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty Friday to burglary and sexual assault.

Aaron Sandoval, who was 17 at the time, was charged as an adult in 6th Judicial District Court.

As part of his plea agreement, Sandoval will receive sex-offender treatment in prison and will be placed on intense supervised sexual-offender probation for up to life after being released. If he violates terms of his probation, he could spend an indeterminate amount of time behind bars until supervising officials determine he is safe to be released.

Sandoval broke into the woman’s house during the middle of the night Aug. 14, 2012, near 30th Street and West Second Avenue in Durango. The 20-year-old woman awoke to find him on top of her in bed holding a screwdriver.

She asked him how he got into the house and if he would leave if she allowed him to have sex with her. Sandoval agreed. The woman asked him to wear a condom, which she provided from her nightstand.

After the assault, he left the condom at the foot of the bed in the bedroom. Forensic testing eventually returned a match to Sandoval.

Several residents in the general vicinity reported tampering with screen windows about that time. The community was warned of a possible sexual offender on the loose.

Police suspected Sandoval’s involvement early in the investigation, but it took several months to collect enough evidence to make an arrest. In the meantime, police kept an eye on him, and he was housed at the Robert E. DeNier Youth Services Center on unrelated charges.

Sentencing is set for 9 a.m. Oct. 24 in District Court before Judge Jeffrey Wilson.


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