by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG — Third Judicial District Court Judge Claude Appel heard a brief bond reduction request Monday for sexual assault defendant Robert Wilkerson, former instructor at The Career Building Academy.
Colorado Springs-based attorney Jim Dostal appeared on behalf of the defendant for his attorney of record, Shimon Kohn, also of Colorado Springs.
The defense attorney was seeking a bond reduction for Wilkerson, 40, who has been in custody at the Huerfano County Jail since April 7, 2016 and is currently being held in lieu of a $45,000 cash only bond on a class three felony charge of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust. Dostal was seeking a reduction in bond to $25,000 cash, property or surety.
Judge Appel asked assistant district attorney Mike Warren if the DA’s office had notified the victim in the case of the bond reduction issue. Warren said the conversation with Dostal regarding bond had just taken place before court began, but said he would notify the victim of the bond reduction request.
Wilkerson appeared in court, in custody of the Huerfano Sheriff’s Office. Judge Appel set the bond reduction request on the court calendar for review at 3:30 pm Monday, May 9, and remanded the defendant to the custody of the sheriff.
Wilkerson, a former construction trades instructor at TCBA in Walsenburg, is accused of having an intimate relationship with a 17-year old female student at the vocational education facility.
The Huerfano County case was investigated by HCSO Cpl. Ray Walsh. The case began with an investigation by Colorado Springs Police Detective Bradley Krause on March 14, 2016. Ten days later, on March 24, Wilkerson was arrested by CSPD and charged with sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, the same charge, with the same victim, as the Huerfano County case.
In interviews with law enforcement, the victim said she met Wilkerson at TCBA in Walsenburg in May 2015, and the pair entered into a sexual relationship by the middle of that month. In her interview with Cpl. Walsh on March 30, she said the pair had sex over 30 times at TCBA facility in Walsenburg and the relationship ended in the middle of February 2016.
On March 15, Detective Krause interviewed Wilkerson and he admitted during the Mirandized interview, he was in a dating relationship with the underage girl during their time together at the Walsenburg campus of TCBA. Detective Krause said Wilkerson denied having sex with the girl on campus, but admitted having sex with her at his Colorado Springs home. “He also admits to exchanging nude photographs of each other while in Walsenburg,” Krause is quoted as saying in Cpl. Walsh’s affidavit for the local arrest warrant.
According to TCBA President and Founder Rick Johnson, Wilkerson left TCBA on September 4, 2015. Johnson told the World Journal last week that Wilkerson had been employed at the school ‘almost a year’. Johnson also said Wilkerson had passed a background check administered by TCBA, but did not elaborate as to the extent of the background investigation.