New hearsay law used in sexual assault conviction involving developmentally disabled victim

Ennio Daniel to be sentence in January

DENVER - A Denver man accused of sexually assaulting a developmentally disabled victim was  found guilty this week by a Denver jury in a case that utilized a new Colorado law allowing hearsay evidence in cases involving developmentally disabled victims.

Ennio Daniel, 51, was convicted of two felony counts of sexual assault on an at-risk adult and one felony count of second-degree kidnapping/victim of a sexual assault, the Denver District Attorney's Office reported Friday.

A jury found that Daniel, an acquaintance of the victim, lured her into his car under the pretense of going on a group outing last April, but instead sexually assaulted her in three separate attacks on the same day.

He was convicted this week following a trial in which the victim’s recorded statement to a forensic interviewer was admitted as evidence.  Until the passage of House Bill 1085 earlier this year, a jury would not have been allowed to hear such evidence.  Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora,  sponsored the legislation and closely monitored the trial. 

"People with developmental disabilities are often victimized because they are vulnerable, and then they are victimized again when their cases are not prosecuted.  This law offers these victims an opportunity for equal access to justice," Fields said.  "I want to thank Chief Deputy DA Maggie Conboy and Chief Deputy DA Adrienne Greene for their tenacity and advocacy on behalf of disabled victims of crime.”

Daniel remains in  the Denver Detention Center and faces an indeterminate to life sentence when he appears for sentencing on Jan. 28, 2013.

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