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Arvada caretaker sentenced for sexually assaulting 2 adults with disabilities

Posted at 3:42 PM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-16 07:45:25-04

GOLDEN, Colo. — An Arvada caregiver was sentenced to prison on Tuesday for sexually assaulting two intellectually and developmentally disabled adults.

Eugene "Gene" Gillespie, 72, was sentenced in the First Judicial District Court on Tuesday to eight years to life in prison. This came after he had pleaded guilty on Feb. 9 to one count of sexual assault of an at-risk person. Because of the plea deal, the other counts, which includes stalking, unlawful sexual contact of an at-risk person and neglect of an at-risk person were dismissed, according to the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

As part of the plea, Gillespie admitted to sexually assaulting one victim multiple times while on overnight trips and day visits around 2013. He also admitted to sexually assaulting another victim multiple times between 2022 and 2023, the district attorney's office said.

Gillespie had been employed as a volunteer caregiver to people with disabilities since 1992 through at least three volunteer programs in the Arvada area. Most programs like this heavily rely on volunteers to drive, supervise and spend time with the adult clients.

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In court, prosecutors argued that Gillespie had been a volunteer who spent one-on-one time with the adults for more than 30 years.

He was arrested in on April 6, 2023 after a months-long investigation.

At Gillespie's sentencing hearing, the letters from two victims were read in court. They both said they were too scared to tell anybody what was happening to them.

“He told me that if I tell anyone, we’d both be in trouble,” the letters read. “Please put him in prison so he can’t keep hurting people."

Prosecutors asked for a lengthy prison sentence and argued that he had a history of predatory behavior.

“The People feel that it is critical for the Court to be aware of the magnitude of the opportunity of abuse and the complete shattering of trust that his actions have had on the victims, their families, and the IDD (Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled) community at large,” said Deputy District Attorney Sarah Masterson. “Gillespie was deeply entwined in the IDD community, always in a significant position of trust, where he created an environment where he was trusted and relied on and was needed, and then, as he begins to sexually assault them, he creates fear and separation from their family and loved ones and makes them feel like they’re trapped."

Masterson also said Gillespie surrounded himself with vulnerable adults while on pretrial services. When he was out on bond in this case, prosecutors received calls from volunteers and community members about him attending an event with adults with disabilities.

Gillespie addressed the court as well.

“I am a monster,” he said. “I’ve hurt so many people.”

As District Court Judge Diego Hunt made his ruling on the sentence, he highlighted Gillespie's “explicit grooming” of the victims for years. He recognized Gillespie's age, poor health and lack of a criminal history, but decided that given the severity of the crimes, the most appropriate sentence was eight years to life in prison.

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