Man pleads guilty to pattern of child sex assault
A third man charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting a child pleaded guilty in Grand County District Court on May 27 and will receive an indeterminate life sentence.
Under a deal that dropped all but the most serious charge, Larry R. Darnell, 51, pleaded guilty to felony sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust as part of a pattern.
Aside from entering his guilty plea, Darnell didn’t comment on his crimes. Judge Mary Hoak is scheduled to sentence him on Aug. 26 with the potential sentence ranging from 16 years to life.
An indeterminate life sentence is the harshest possible penalty for sex crimes in Colorado. With an indeterminate sentence, the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board will be responsible for the exact length of Darnell’s sentence, for which 16 years imprisonment is the minimum.
Darnell was arrested in February 2020 following a Grand County Sheriff’s Office investigation that led to three men being charged in connection to the case. Darnell is the third to plead guilty to the charges.
According to the arrest warrant, Darnell drugged the child with methamphetamine and assaulted the child over the course of at least two years. Additionally, Darnell was accused of allowing two other men — Eric R. Cordero, 48, and Daniel Gutierrez, 26 — to sexually assault the child in his presence.
In March, Cordero was sentenced to 18 years for assault with a deadly weapon and attempted sexual assault on person under 15 years. Gutierrez also pleaded guilty to the same charges in April. He will be sentenced July 22.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Kathryn Dowdell said the conclusion of the three cases without trials is an ideal outcome for the victim.
“The resolution of these three cases brings closure and healing to the child victim, allowing the child to focus on moving forward with therapeutic support,” Dowdell said in a statement. “The dispositions of these cases prevent this child from being re-victimized because the child will not have to recount the horrors the child lived through during testimony at a trial for any one of these three offenders.”
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