There has been a rise in child abuse cases in Northern Colorado in recent years. Here are some signs to look for and resources to help. Chris Abshire
CANON CITY — A former Fort Collins priest incarcerated for sexually assaulting a teen in 2007 presented his case for parole Monday morning.
Timothy Evans, now 57, was sentenced to 14 years to life in prison in 2007 for sexually assaulting a teen boy who worked at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, where Evans was a pastor.
Evans was one of four priests from different parishes in Fort Collins and Loveland named in a special report from the Colorado Attorney General’s Office released last month detailing credible claims of abuse by Catholic priests and the Archdiocese of Denver’s handling of the acts. His was the only Larimer County case that led to criminal charges.
During Monday’s hearing — Evans’ third since he’s been incarcerated — he said he’s “absolutely” guilty of abuse but has learned to identify his triggers for abusive behavior and created a risk management plan through sex offender treatment he’s received while in custody at the Fremont Correctional Facility in Canon City.
Because his case has been so high-profile, he said he’ll be watched closely by friends, family and the general public if granted parole.
“I will have way more eyes on me than any other parolee,” he said. “I’m up for the challenge.”
Notification of whether Evans will be released on parole is expected to take a few weeks. Because Evans was convicted of a violent crime, his application for parole must be approved by the entire nine-person board.
If he is granted parole, he will be supervised for the rest of his life, parole board member Joe Morales said via video conference during Monday’s hearing at the Fremont Correctional Facility.
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‘I am absolutely responsible and guilty’
Only Evans spoke at the hearing. One victim was listening remotely to Monday’s hearing, Morales said.
Evans said undergoing sex offender treatment has been “very, very helpful for identifying my abusive behaviors.”
The treatment has helped him identify triggers for his abusive behavior, including stress and “entitlement thinking,” Evans said, adding that when he committed these crimes he was feeling overwhelmed to a point where he felt like he deserved to be able to break the rules.
“I am absolutely responsible and guilty” of sexually abusing minors, Evans told Morales Monday.
The first accusations against Evans stemmed from Jefferson County in 2003, according to the special report, and a Fort Collins victim came forward in 2004. Evans was charged in three cases in 2005, and a jury found him guilty in 2007.
In the case of the Fort Collins teen, Evans said the teen did not find comfort in his family so he turned to Evans. Evans said Monday that he “abused my position of trust” when working with the teen.
Evans was removed from the parish in 2003, when the first accusations against him were raised, according to the special report.
Through treatment, Evans said he has identified two other victims of his abusive behavior, in addition to the four who testified at his 2007 trial. Evans assaulted his victims from 1996 to 2001, he said.
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Preventing further abuse
Evans said he has spent “many hours” reflecting on how his poor decisions have impacted his victims and others. He said it has made him realize “how weak a man I was and how bad a priest I was.”
As part of his treatment, Evans said he created an extensive risk management plan for himself, with input from his primary therapist. The plan is in the final editing stage and once complete, Evans will have only a few other things to do before completing his ordered treatment. He said he and his therapist estimate that will happen by the end of January.
Evans also said he has fully paid the court-ordered restitution to his victims. According to Colorado court records, he has no outstanding restitution related to the Larimer County case.
While in prison, Evans said he has been active in the GED program and has “helped hundreds of people pass their GED.”
Evans said he’d like to be released to Grand Junction, where he could live with his stepmother and near his father, who is in a memory care facility. He told Morales he has contacts in Grand Junction who can help him find a job, but he has not found employment yet because he doesn’t have a release date.
He could also be released to Denver or Larimer County, Evans said, as he also has strong support systems there. He does not have connections to employment opportunities in those places, he said.
“I have multiple eyes on me to ensure I don’t engage in risky behavior,” Evans told Morales.
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If he is released, Evans said his long-term goal is to find a way to support other sex offenders who are out on parole and hold each other accountable.
“I know how difficult it is to be granted parole,” Evans said. “I want to be in a position to be able to support at least a few other people.”
The parole board will consider Evans’ statements Monday, input from his case manager and other documents from his time incarcerated when they consider whether to grant him parole. The decision will be made in the next few weeks, according to the Colorado Department of Corrections.
Sady Swanson covers crime, courts, public safety and more throughout Northern Colorado. You can send your story ideas to her at email@example.com or on Twitter at @sadyswan. Support our work and local journalism with a digital subscription at Coloradoan.com/subscribe.
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