A Montrose man stands accused of sexually abusing children over a roughly 14-year span, after they came forward as adults, prompting a months-long investigation.
Michael B. Young, 51, was arrested on allegations of 14 counts of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust and 14 counts of an aggravated sex offense. Formal charges are pending.
Police said Friday four children were victimized between 1997 and 2011; their ages ranged between 5 and 15 during that period. In court later Friday, reference as made to five children, but police later clarified that the allegations made by one of them could not advance because of the statute of limitations.
“It is a prolonged sexual assault that has been sustained through these victims’ childhoods,” Montrose Police Sgt. Michelle Berry said.
She said the witnesses came forward starting in March, after a “life-changing event” caused them to decide it was time to speak up.
Lead Detective Mark Trimble and others investigated, interviewing the complaining witnesses over a period of months throughout the pandemic. Police devoted hundreds of hours to the investigation.
Berry said Young was interviewed Thursday and several of the allegations were “substantiated.” Young then was arrested.
“It’s a very unfortunate event in their lives, but I think his arrest will be able to give them a little bit of peace,” she said. “There’s a lot of tears that were shed. … It’s never too late to come forward.”
Friday, Young’s public defender revoked all waivers of rights and all permissions Young may have given police. Drew Ashcraft argued for a lower bond than the $60,000 that had been imposed upon Young’s arrest and to allow it to be placed via cash or property pledge.
The alleged victims listened to the court hearing by phone. One of them said they were concerned that if bond were to be set too low, Young would be a flight risk — she said Young has no ties to the community and, because of the allegations, would have incentive to flee.
Deputy District Attorney Aubrey Thompson also said Young is a potential flight risk; she further noted the nature and number of the allegations would expose Young to an indeterminate prison sentence if he is formally charged with them and convicted.
But Ashcraft said his client has lived in the community for more than 40 years; has transportation to and from court; is looking for a job and has some family locally.
Young’s criminal record shows lower level offenses, most recently in 2013 and all were Montrose cases, demonstrating that Young does in fact live local, Ashcraft also said.
Although the allegations are not to be taken lightly, they “simply are allegations and should be treated as such,” he said.
Montrose County Judge Ben Morris left bail set at $60,000.
“Obviously, this is a serious case. I do have community safety concerns. Given the number of allegations, the number of victims an seriousness of the allegations, a $60,000 cash bond is appropriate,” Morris said.
Formal charges are due Nov. 15. Young was set to come back to court Dec. 3.
Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.