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Ex-Denver cop Johnny Leon-Alvarez just got an ironic treasure deal – a deferred sentence that doesn’t translate into jail time, despite admitting sexual assault.
The appeal agreement was arranged by the Denver District Attorney’s Office and blessed during a hearing with Denver District Judge Morris Hoffman on April 22nd. Four days later, on April 26, Hoffman sentenced anti-police lawyer Eric Brandt to a 12-year sentence for verbally threatening other judges – one of his last important acts before stepping down from the bank on April 30.
We first reported on the Leon-Alvarez case shortly after his arrest.
At 2:55 a.m. on January 17, 2020, a member of the Denver Police Department swore to an address on North Perth Street after a sexual assault was reported.
The nameless victim then informed the investigators that she had called DPD last month after she had quarreled with her partner and after Leon-Alvarez had taken up her information, “he began to text her to send her on check, “says the document. Over time, the lyrics became “flirtatious” and on January 16 the woman agreed to accompany Leon-Alvarez to Dave & Buster. At the entertainment center, the victim remembered drinking a couple of shots and drinking a couple of beers before Leon-Alvarez took her home. She remembered trying to say good night at her door, but the officer went in anyway.
Parts of the next few paragraphs are hidden in the report, but there are still some clues as to what happened, including the sentences “She tried to push him away while telling him no and please stop” and “She said she wanted to not doing certain things to him … but he did. “
Sex crime allegations against Colorado police officers are not uncommon. Some other examples from Westword’s past, including our list of 365 police officers banned by the state in 2019:
• In 2009, former Denver Police Officer Joe Bini pleaded guilty to paying two teenage girls to have sex while he was watching.
• In 2011, Darrell Lingle, a former law enforcement officer in Lamar and Kiowa Counties, was charged with sexually assaulting a child.
• In 2012, former Arapahoe County Sheriff Pat Sullivan admitted being in possession of drugs and soliciting a prostitute.
• In 2013, former Denver police officer Hector Paez was convicted of kidnapping and sexual assault while on duty. His victim finally won a civil sentence against him in November 2018.
• In 2014, Joseph Ellsworth, a former Denver police officer who became a sex offender, was charged with attempted sexual assault on a child.
• Also in 2014, William Robert Metzler was convicted of two sexual contacts – no consent, and Robert Michael French pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child – possession of sexually explicit material.
• In 2016, Timothy Joseph Kelly was charged with child sexual exploitation and a video containing more than twenty items.
• In 2018, former Lakewood Police Officer Randall Butler resigned after being arrested on charges of sexual assault.
• Also in 2018, former Commerce City police officer John Reinhart was convicted of two illegal sexual contacts.
Leon-Alvarez, who was still on parole with the DPD at the time of his arrest, was released on January 23, 2020 and had another contact with the law the following July when he was arrested for a DUI in Grand District. Nevertheless, on April 22nd, he was able to leave the courtroom as a free man. The reported statement for the deferred plea: Danielle Robinson, the DA office representative, told the court that the victim “continued to be afraid and that the plea would save her the burden of litigation”.
When Westword asked for comment on this finding, DA Office spokeswoman Carolyn Tyler replied, “Given the challenges of this case, we believe justice has served.”
Click here to read Johnny Leon-Alvarez’s Probable Cause Statement.
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Michael Roberts has been writing for Westword since October 1990 and has worked as a music editor and media columnist. It currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.