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Judge rejects plea deal in case of acupuncturist accused of sexually assaulting clients

kent nixon mug.jpg
Posted at 6:06 PM, Oct 19, 2021

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — An acupuncture therapist in Fort Collins, who's accused of sexually assaulting clients during their sessions, had his plea deal rejected on Tuesday.

"I feel disappointed. I feel like this is a clear case of a sexual predator," said Kristin Vogt, one the man's accusers.

Vogt, Sarah Neubert and two other women testified Tuesday morning asking for a stiffer penalty as they detailed moments they claim acupuncture therapist Kent Nixon sexually assaulted them during their sessions in Fort Collins. He was arrested in 2020.

"It makes me very sick and angry that he used his position of trust to violate me and to violate so many other women," Neubert said.

Court documents show an agreement was reached between Nixon and Larimer County District Attorney Gordon McLaughlin. The deal would have required Nixon to plead guilty to nine counts of fake medical exams instead of sex crimes, but the judge rejected the deal.

The testimony of Nuebert and Vogt may have had an impact on the judge's decision, and they hope the case will now go to trial.

"Throughout this whole thing, I told the truth, all of the victims have told the truth. It takes a lot of courage to stand in front of a room of people and talk about being abused, especially with the abuser four feet away from you," Vogt said.

Amanda Olivier, the executive director for Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center, is concerned a soft plea deal in the case sends the wrong message.

"I do think that seeing plea deals come through or cases not get taken does send a message to survivors of, 'What’s the point, right, of coming forward?'" Olivier said. "I think the biggest message I want to get out there is that they’re not alone."

When Denver7 went to Nixon’s business, an associate said he’s declining to comment.

District Attorney McLaughlin offices provided the following statement:

"The District Attorney is unable to comment on the specific allegations in order to protect the integrity of the case and abide by the Rules of Professional Conduct regarding public comment on open matters. We have devoted extensive resources to the prosecution of this case, not only from attorneys and investigators but also from victim services. Protecting the rights and wellbeing of victims of crime is the office’s top priority. We have offered and held numerous meetings with the listed victims to explain legal procedure and potential outcomes, to obtain input and hear concerns, and to connect them with resources. The District Attorney fully complied with the Victim Rights Act, which included meeting with all victims who chose to provide input prior to finalizing any tentative offers or presenting an agreement to the court. We will continue to be in contact with the listed victims moving forward. The criminal justice system is an ongoing fact-finding process, as more evidence in the case comes to light the District Attorney is required to uphold our ethical obligations in assessing the facts and considering the rights of victims as well as the rights of the accused in seeking an appropriate resolution."

The next plea hearing is scheduled for Oct. 29.