by Rick Langenberg:
Woodland Park Mayor Dave Turley has maintained his innocence regarding charges of sexual assault on a child.
However, Turley still has not indicated whether he will step down from his mayoral post, according to city officials. By charter rules, Turley can still remain as Woodland Park’s mayor pending the outcome of the criminal case against him. City Manager David Buttery doesn’t expect an official decision by Turley for at least another week and a half. The mayor hasn?t participated in any city function, and won’t be attending the next regular council meeting, scheduled for June 5, according to Buttery.
Last week, Turley had his first court appearance and was advised of his rights. Although not making any public statements, the mayor has continued to deny the charges, saying, “They make me sick to my stomach.”
The judge ordered Turley not to have any contact with the victim or the victim?s family. Also, he cannot have any contact with anyone 18 years or younger without the supervision of an adult.
Turley will reappear in court again on June 16 at 9 a.m. That’s when official charges will be presented against him.
The case against Turley has stunned local residents and civic leaders. Turley was arrested on the morning of May 23 on charges of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, a class-four felony. He was arrested at the Woodland Park Police Station, following a reported interview with the law enforcement officials from Woodland Park and Colorado Springs. He was released from the Teller County Jail on May 23, after posting a bond of $10,000.
According to WP Police Chief Bob Larson, officials conducted a several week investigation and interviewed approximately 10 people, prior to making the arrest. When Woodland Park police officials learned that the possible suspect was the mayor of WP, they asked for assistance from the Colorado Springs Police Department, according to Larson.
The entire ordeal has shocked local residents. Turley has been a popular mayor and a charismatic figure at many community events. He recently started his second term as mayor. Turley, who began his political career in Woodland Park as a council member, won both of his mayoral contests by wide margins.
Besides his role with the city, Turley has been extremely involved with many youth programs and with the local American Legion post. He was a key leader and organizer of the American Legion youth baseball tournament for the last several years
Opinions are highly divided on whether Turley should step down or not. Many residents have continued to raise questions about Turley’s future with the city.
Buttery last week stressed that this decision rests on the shoulders of the current mayor. By law, the only way a mayor can surrender his post is through resignation, recall, illness, incapacitation, death, relocation out of the area or felony conviction.
In the meantime, Woodland Park Mayor Pro Tem Carrol Harvey has served as the main mayoral ambassador at key events, like last week’s flag lowering ceremony at Lions Memorial Park, honoring the Fourth Engineer Battalion of the U.S. Army. She also will be leading the council meetings in the interim period. If Turley does decide to step down, then the city will conduct an appointment process for the remainder of his term.