Schoolteacher receives deferred sentence for allegedly punching deputy during Montezuma wildfire

Anger management replaces assault charges

CORTEZ, Colo. - A man accused of punching a Montezuma County sheriff's deputy during a wildfire has received a deferred prosecution.

John McHenry of Dolores County is accused of punching the deputy when the officer tried to block McHenry from reaching a road to get to his home during the Roatcap Fire in October.

The Cortez Journal reports that charges of third-degree assault and resisting arrest have been deferred.

The charges will be dismissed if McHenry completes 24 hours of community service and 12 weeks of anger management while not committing any crimes for six months.

According to the newspaper, District Attorney Will Furse says McHenry had previously lost a home to fire. He says McHenry's emotions got the better of him when the sheriff's deputy told McHenry he could not access a road that was closed by the wildfire.

"The deputy exercised great judgment in talking (and calming) the crowd as they approached," Furse said, according to the newspaper.

A schoolteacher and basketball coach, McHenry’s record is free of any other type of criminal activity.

"He acknowledges his actions were regretful (and wrong)," Furse said, adding McHenry has shown a great deal of remorse since the incident.

Furse told the court that he believes McHenry deserves a second chance, since a conviction might jeopardize his career as an educator.