Ouray sheriff

Richard Allen Herman, a longtime Ouray County Sheriff’s deputy who was promoted to undersheriff in January, was indicted June 27 by a grand jury of the 7th Judicial District Court for sex crimes allegedly perpetrated in March 2018. (Courtesy photo)

Richard Allen Herman, a longtime Ouray County Sheriff’s deputy who was promoted to undersheriff in January, was indicted June 27 by a grand jury of the 7th Judicial District Court for sex crimes allegedly perpetrated in March 2018. Herman, 47, is accused of attempting to lure a 15-year-old into performing sex acts and was indicted on two counts — criminal attempt to commit inducement of child prostitution and child abuse — by the grand jury representing the people of Colorado.

On March 28, 2018, the teen was walking from his school to his grandparents’ house in the City of Montrose when he noticed a white work-like truck passing several times, according to the indictment. The truck parked near a dirt turnaround and appeared to be waiting for him to walk by. As he approached the white truck, the driver asked if he wanted to play games. The teen asked, “What kind of games?” and the driver replied, “Sexual games” and “I will give you money.”

The indictment explained the driver began to exit his truck so the teen began running out of fear. Then, he called a friend and 911. He reported being scared by the confrontation with the man in the white truck. The 911 recording contained “other indications of emotional trauma, including hyperventilating, elevated voice and breathing rate,” according to the report.

Also on March 28, 2018, according to the indictment, a Montrose Police Department officer reviewed surveillance video associated with the reported time of the incident. The video showed the alleged victim walking away from the area and a white work-like truck driving northbound and traveling in the same direction as the victim was walking.

The officer took a screenshot of the video image of the truck and showed it to the reporting teen who positively identified the truck as being the truck that met him at the dirt turnaround and from which the driver and sole occupant offered to play sexual games in exchange for money.

On March 29, 2018, the Montrose Police Department posted the screenshot of the white truck on the department’s Facebook page identifying the vehicle as “of interest” to law enforcement and requesting information about the truck. On the same day, Colorado State Patrol Trooper Mark Hanson texted Herman, whom he knew through professional contact, and sent a copy of the picture from the Facebook post. In the text, Hanson asked Herman a question indicating the trooper believed the truck in the Facebook post was Herman’s truck. Herman’s responds to these texts indicated he received the photo from Hanson.

On March 31, 2018, Herman created a Craigslist ad to sell a 2000 GMC truck, but the ad did not include a photo of the truck. On April 13, 2018, he purchased a 2009 GMC truck. On or about September 2018, Herman re-registered the 2000 GMC truck in his name.

Nine months after the incident, on Jan. 11, the teen victim identified Herman as the suspect in a photo line-up at the Montrose Police Department. He said he was 90 percent sure that the person in the photo was the driver of the white truck, and said he “would be shocked” if the person in the photo was not the man driving the white truck who confronted him.

On Jan. 22, Herman was interviewed by Montrose Police Detective Jason English in Ouray County. Herman initially said he sold the truck in March 2018, and subsequently told English that the truck was in Arkansas. Herman said that he was home all day on March 28, 2018, with gout in his foot, indicated that he was trying to sell the truck and that he let people test drive the truck. Herman said he had not made any alterations to the white truck before getting rid of it and he had made art out of the license plates from the white truck.

Employment records show that Herman was not on duty at the Ouray County Sheriff’s Office on March 28, 2018. Information gathered from Herman’s cellphone about which cell towers the phone “pinged” shows that his phone was not at his residence all day on March 28, 2018, and the information is further consistent with the phone being in the vicinity of the teen who reported the incident.

He was hired by the newly elected Ouray County Sheriff Lance FitzGerald as undersheriff sometime between January and March of this year. Records to indicate the exact date were not found in time for this article.

Also on Jan. 22, a search warrant to search Herman’s residence for the truck was executed by the Montrose Police Department. The license plates from the white 2000 GMC truck were found on top of the refrigerator, fully intact. In addition, the black rack from the white 2000 GMC truck was found on his 2009 GMC truck. During the search, Herman’s wife stated to officers that the white 2000 truck is now located in Arkansas at a house.

On the evening of Jan. 22, at the request of English, a law enforcement officer in the Hot Springs, Arkansas, area visually inspected the white 2000 GMC truck at a residence and confirmed the vehicle identification number matched the number of the truck owned by and registered to Herman.

On Feb. 11, after observing the white 2000 GMC truck at the Hot Springs area residence, English with the assistance of Arkansas law enforcement, obtained a search warrant for the premises. Officers located, inspected and photographed the white truck in a detached garage. Unique characteristics of the vehicle, as well as the vehicle identification number, further confirmed that the truck was Herman’s white 2000 GMC truck.

Herman is set to be in Montrose County court with Judge Keri Yoder at 2 p.m. Aug. 26 for a hearing on advisement.