Man formally charged in alleged sex assault of tourist

Jesus Casillas-Huerta.

Jesus Casillas-Huerta, who was arrested in July after passersby reported a woman in distress downtown, has been charged formally with sexually assaulting her.

Casillas-Huerta is charged with sexual assault on an incapacitated victim, second-degree assault-strangulation and driving under restraint, according to Montrose Combined Court records.

Casillas-Huerta denied the allegations, according to his arrest affidavit, telling police that the encounter was consensual and if he was guilty, he would have fled the scene. He remained jailed on a $100,000 cash-only bond.

A preliminary hearing has been set for Oct. 7. At it, a judge will consider whether there is sufficient probable cause for the case to proceed.

According to police, a woman who was visiting the national parks in the state with a friend encountered Casillas-Huerta at a downtown bar July 19. She reportedly left the establishment with him. Some time later, passersby saw her falling from a parked truck, bleeding and partially unclothed; they called for help as a woman passing by consoled the reported victim.

When officers arrived, they found her clinging to the other woman, who reported the alleged victim had attempted to bite several people trying to help and that she “seemed terrified.”

The affidavit later noted bite marks on Casillas-Huerta, which he reportedly passed off as hickeys, but which detectives found consistent with those inflicted by assault victims as a means of self-defense.

In a soft voice, the woman told officers “this has never happened to me before,” the affidavit says.

Casillas-Huerta was identified by witnesses as being in the pickup from which they saw the woman fall. He told police he did not know why the woman was partly undressed and said they had engaged in consensual sexual activity, per the affidavit.

Officers noted he had blood on his T-shirt, near the waistline.

Investigators ultimately concluded Casillas-Huerta’s account of what happened was not entirely consistent with the evidence they gathered from his truck, the woman’s injuries and the bite marks on him.

The woman was taken to the hospital for examination and treatment.

When interviewed later, she indicated she could not remember being in a truck, or having been taken to the hospital. She instead reported having “walked home with a friend” — the woman who was consoling her on the sidewalk when police arrived.

When police told her Casillas-Huerta claimed consensual sex with her, the woman began sobbing and said the last thing she recalled was having a drink at the bar, then waking up at the hospital.

Physicians reported she was highly intoxicated; she told a nurse she hadn’t ever “blacked out” before.

She was asked if she would have agreed to have sex with anyone and said “‘no,’ without hesitation,” Detective Patrick Demers wrote in the affidavit. She said she recalled seeing Casillas-Huerta at the bar two seats away from her.

When interviewed, Casillas-Huerta told police he had gone into town that night had drinks with a friend. At the bar, a woman he had seen a time or two before became “attached” to him and they later left the bar together, leaving behind the woman’s friend, whom he did not know, according to the affidavit.

Casillas-Huerta and the woman went to his truck, where they kissed, but, he said, “I didn’t do anything to that girl,” the affidavit says.

“Jesus emphasized several times ‘if I was a bad guy, I would have run away,’” Demers wrote in the document.

Eventually, Casillas-Huerta admitted they had been far more intimate than he had originally said, Demers said in the affidavit, which contains graphic details of the alleged encounter.

Casillas-Huerta also reportedly said he had choked the woman during sex. When shown a photo of the woman’s neck, which showed “deep bruising,” Casillas Huerta “was dismissive and indicated the injury was a result of him ‘sucking on her neck,’” Demers alleged. However, in his training and experience, the bruises were not consistent with that story, the officer also said.

Casillas-Huerta reportedly said the woman was hurt when she opened the door and fell out.

People swarmed around her out of concern and he could not get out of the vehicle, the suspect said, adding he had decided to “stay put and face it” because someone who was guilty would have run, per the affidavit.

He later relayed that he was searching for happiness and “looking for love in all the wrong places.”

Per the affidavit, Casillas Huerta said he “should have understood she was too (messed) up.” He maintained the encounter had been consensual.

Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.

Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.

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