Oct 27, 2012 12:42 AM by Jacqui Heinrich, email@example.com
After a second trial, Joshua Carrier was found guilty on multiple counts of sexually assaulting young boys while working as a school resource officer and wrestling coach at Horace Mann Middle School in Colorado Springs. A jury found him guilty of sexually assaulting 19 of the 21 boys who brought charges against him.
Of the 148 charges he faced, Carrier was found guilty on 123, including sexual assault on a child from one in a position of trust as a pattern of behavior, unlawful sexual contact, enticement of a child, and sexual exploitation. Each of the 'pattern of abuse' charges comes with a minimum sentence of 8 to 24 years behind bars with a maximum sentence of life in prison; Carrier also faces consecutive sentences for each of the victims he was convicted of abusing. In all, it amounts to life in prison.
The verdict is a welcome end for those young victims who relived memories of abuse over and over, testifying for weeks after a mistrial in April 2012 was inconclusive. "This man is doing probably more years in prison than anybody in my entire career I have ever heard of," victims' attorney Ann Kaufman told News 5 in an interview Friday.
Attorneys on both sides agreed new evidence led jurors to conviction in their verdict. Detectives uncovered a video with Carrier touching young boys when the case was re-examined. "They went back to those computers and they said 'We want to take another look at those computers, we want to see if we can find something new'...in doing so, he found a whole new video.," said Jennifer Viehman, one of the prosecuting attorneys. Josh Tolini, one of the defending attorneys agreed, saying, "I think you have different people viewing the evidence, as well as evidence they had this time that they did not have in the last trial."
After weeks of testimony and deliberation, prosecutors say the verdict comes as a relief. "It represents to these children that they were heard, they were believed, and that the person who did this to them isn't going to get away with it," Amy Fitch, a member of the prosecution told News 5.
School District 11 officials reacted to the verdict, stating, "School District 11 has learned that Officer Joshua Carrier, a former volunteer and school resource officer at Mann Middle School, has been convicted of multiple sexual offenses relating to children. We deeply regret the harm to our students and our school community resulting from Officer Carrier's conduct as a person in a position of trust. The safety, security, and social emotional well-being of our students remain top priorities in the District."
The attorney for the abused boys says the school district is just as much a victim in this case, but with the verdict Friday everyone involved can move forward. Kaufman said, "When you think of the ripple effects of these children, their siblings, their families...what this did to this community, the school district, the police department...he deserves to go to prison for life, that is the right result in a situation like this."
Carrier's sentencing is scheduled for February 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM.
As far as the appeals process goes, Carrier's defense attorneys said they'll be reviewing the verdict forms, but the numbers will remain "very very high in this case".