Newspapers From Colorado Were Stolen After Reporting On A Minor Who Was Allegedly Raped At Police Chief’s House

A newspaper in a small Colorado town reported that hundreds of copies of its most recent edition had been taken after it carried an article about a teenage girl who had reportedly been sexually assaulted at a police chief’s house.

Newspapers From Colorado Were Stolen After Reporting On A Minor Who Was Allegedly Raped At Police Chief's House

According to the Ouray County Plaindealer’s report, the 17-year-old girl stated detectives she was sexually assaulted three times by different youths during a party in May 2023. The article stated that Ouray Police Chief Jeff Wood’s residence was the scene of the alleged rape; however, Wood has not been charged with any crimes.

The Plaindealer was able to get an affidavit from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation stating that the suspects had engaged in drug and alcohol use on the day of the alleged incident. The victim reported to the authorities that she had not taken any drugs, but she did experience periods of unconsciousness.

In relation to the sexual assault, this week saw the arrests of Gabriel Trujillo, 20, Ashton Whittington, 18, and Wood’s stepson Nate Dieffenderffer, who was 17 at the time of the alleged incident and was not named by police authorities. Whittington is charged with failing to intervene rather than taking part.

All three of the case’s suspects have refuted the accusations. Fox 31 reports that they were all freed from custody after posting bail.

The Plaindealer’s staff reports that many of the newspapers vanished after the story was featured on the main page of its Thursday edition. The Plaindealer claimed on Facebook that someone had taken newspaper copies from racks in Ouray and Ridgway.

According to the newspaper, someone paid to open each newspaper box with money before leaving with all the papers inside.

“All of our newspaper racks in Ouray and all but one rack in Ridgway were hit by a thief who stole all the newspapers. From what we know so far, it seems this person put in four quarters and took all the papers at these racks,” the Plaindealer said in a newsletter.

“It’s pretty clear that someone didn’t want the community to read the news this week,” the newsletter continued. “I’ll leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions on which story they didn’t want you to read.”

Fox 31 was informed by the Ouray County Sheriff’s Office that an investigator has been assigned to the issue and that it has received calls regarding the missing papers.

The newspaper said that on Friday, a suspect was identified. The suspect’s identify won’t be made public until a citation is issued, though. According to the publication, neither Woods nor the three alleged rapists are linked to the individual.

The Plaindealer’s newsletter said, “We’re not going to stop doing our job, which is to shine light on important issues in our community and keep you informed. This person is not going to shut down the freedom of the press by stealing a few hundred newspapers. Our community won’t stand for it, and we won’t, either.”

“If you meant to intimidate us, you just strengthened our resolve,” the newsletter said.

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