Dudgeon Bound Over For Trial On Only One Sexual Assault Count
A man charged last week with two counts of sexually assaulting two teenage girls will face trial on only one of those counts, a judge ruled after the defendant's preliminary hearing on Tuesday.
Chris Dudgeon, 21, will go to trial on one count of second-degree sexual assault for allegedly getting a 14-year-old girl drunk and having oral sex with her three times in the past year, Natrona County Circuit Judge Michael Patchen said.
However, Patched dropped the second count of third-degree sexual assault after prosecutors failed to make their case.
A preliminary hearing is when the state finds probable cause -- not proof beyond a reasonable doubt -- that a crime was committed and the accused committed it.
Last week, police arrested Dudgeon on one count of second-degree sexual assault of a minor and one count of third-degree sexual assault of a minor. Second-degree sexual assault is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment, and third-degree sexual assault is punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment.
In September, Dudgeon was convicted on three counts of first degree sexual assault — sexual intercourse — of a minor. He was free on $25,000 bond while committing the alleged recent offenses.
Last week, Patchen set his bond at $250,000.
Last week, Dudgeon denied the accusations and said the girls were trying to get him into trouble.
Tuesday, Casper Police Detective Gary Kassay told Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Hambrick that he received a report from the aunt of the 14-year-old girl who suspected the relationship, and Kassay was able to learn from Facebook connections and subsequent interviews that the girl of three separate instances of sexual encounters, one of which occurred recently.
Dudgeon's public defender Robert Oldham poked holes in some of Kassay's arguments, especially the Facebook connections and the girl's inability to narrow the time frames of the first two encounters. Oldham also said Kassay unfairly targeted Dudgeon because the detective had arrested him before.
Patchen said Kassay's testimony was enough to send the second-degree sexual assault case to district court for trial.
But the second count didn't pass muster.
Kassay said the 14-year-old girl's cousin, the daughter of the aunt who reported the alleged crime, met Dudgeon only through Facebook. Dudgeon asked her to send him a picture of her clothed, and then asked her for a picture of her in her shorts.
Oldham asked if the requests for pictures went any further than that, and Kassay said no.
Patchen said the law about third-degree sexual assault requires some kind of sexual contact, and that never happened with Dudgeon and the other girl.