William J. Martinez of the U.S. District Court of Colorado sentenced former Westminster police officer Curtis Lee Arganbright to six years in prison for sexually assaulting a woman while serving …
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William J. Martinez of the U.S. District Court of Colorado sentenced former Westminster police officer Curtis Lee Arganbright to six years in prison for sexually assaulting a woman when he was on duty.
Arganbright, 43, pleaded guilty to violating a woman's civil rights for assaulting her when he transported her home from the hospital in 2017. Arganbright's sentencing in federal court occurred after he received a far shorter sentence in Colorado district court.
In addition to his prison sentence and another three years of supervised release, Arganbright won't seek employment with a law enforcement agency in the future and will register as a sex offender with state and federal databases.
On Aug. 23, 2017, the victim, whom Martinez and attorneys referred to as “KT” during a Feb. 1 sentencing hearing, went to St. Anthony's North Health Campus for alcohol withdrawal treatment, according to Arganbright's plea agreement and statements made during the sentencing hearing. At St. Anthony's, hospital staff found KT, who was 36 at the time, stealing medical supplies from cabinets, leading staff to call Westminster police. Arganbright, a senior-level officer at the time, was among those who responded. Hospital staff didn't want to press charges against KT. Arganbright said he would give KT a ride home to Broomfield from St. Anthony's.
As they were driving along 144th Avenue and Zuni Street, Arganbright pulled off the road to a remote location. Arganbright handcuffed KT and brought her out of the patrol car, where he engaged in unlawful sexual contact with the woman, as stipulated by the plea agreement. Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's office said Arganbright vaginally and orally penetrated KT, a description the defense disputes parts of. According to police reports noted during the Feb. 1 hearing, Arganbright and KT were there for about 7 minutes.
A few days later, the Broomfield Police Department arrested Arganbright and 17th Judicial Attorney Dave Young charged the officer with sexual assault. In November 2018, Broomfield District Court Judge F. Michael Goodbee sentenced Arganbright to 90 days of jail and four years of probation after the defendant plead guilty. Afterward, in October 2019, U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn said Goodbee's sentence was too light and charged Arganbright with a civil rights violation that could carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Though Arganbright admitted to engaging in nonconsensual sex with KT and causing her “bodily injury,” defense attorney Nathan Chambers disputed other facts of the case at the Feb. 1 sentencing hearing. “Time will fail me, your honor, if I tried to list all the reasons why KT should not be believed. All of her inconsistencies. All the times she's refuted by reputable evidence. All the time she's just plain wrong. And the times, which there are many, when she flat out lied,” the defendant's attorney said.
Still, in trying to lighten Arganbright's sentence, Chambers listed inconsistencies in KT's accounting of the assault to police investigators. Martinez would later agree with some of Chambers' points and said the prosecution failed to prove that Arganbright caused KT “serious bodily injury.” There was uncertainty about whether certain bruising on KT was from Arganbright.
Certain factual inconsistencies about the assault ultimately led Martinez to lessen Arganbright's maximum 10-year prison sentence to six.
At the same time, Martinez denounced attacks on KT's character. “This is a reminder of what victims of sexual assault frequently face when they have the courage of coming forward to report the assault,” the judge said.
Bryan Fields of the U.S. Attorney's office said the defense's argument was trying to “shift the blame.”
KT herself would take the stand and respond. “None of these facts or character defects made what this man did to me that night makes it okay. Nothing about my past or my current state at the time of the assault justify his actions that night. What he did to me was vile and horrible and so very wrong,” the survivor said.
Fields said Arganbright showed little remorse and never apologized. Later in the hearing, though, the defendant would do that for the first time. “I am truly sorry, and no words can describe the shame that I have right now,” Arganbright said.
During her testimony, KT said that Arganbright's assault sent her into a “downward spiral that caused me to lose my dignity, my seven-year-old-daughter, my family, my friends, my house and almost my life.” Yet, she said she's doing better today and in 55 days, will be one-year sober.
She concluded her statement with, “Although this should never happen to anyone, I am grateful that it happened to me. Someone that was strong enough to come forward with the truth to stop this from ever happening to another young lady. And to come out on the other side a survivor.”
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