- Former GOP rising star Randy Ankeney.
Randal D. "Randy" Ankeney, the convicted sex offender who just a few years ago was a rising GOP star in Colorado Springs, is being held on a $1 million bond in Larimer County.
Ankeney, 35, was arrested on Sept. 27 in Highlands Ranch, where he was living with a girlfriend. He was slapped with five new counts of sexual assault on a child, three counts of sexual enticement of a child and one count of sexual exploitation of a child.
In addition, Ankeney is facing separate felony charges stemming from a January arrest for sexual assault in Arapahoe County.
All this, fewer than 15 months after the Republican Leadership Program graduate, and attorney, and former head of Gov. Bill Owens' economic development office in Colorado Springs, completed a two-year prison sentence for attempted sexual assault on a child.
At the time of his first arrest, Ankeney was serving as El Paso County co-chair of Owens' re-election campaign. By all accounts, he was being groomed for a seat in the state Legislature. His network of connections ranged from Bill Hybl, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and powerful chairman of the El Pomar Foundation, to local developer and school voucher advocate Steve Schuck, to El Paso County lawmakers, including state Sen. Andy McElhany and state Rep. Bill Cadman.
Friends liked to point out that Ankeney was so committed to the Republican Party that he named his dogs Reagan and Nixon.
"Sickened by the charges'
One of 40 graduates of the prestigious Republican Leadership Program in 1996, Ankeney's classmates included Cadman, as well as Mark Hillman, who is currently running for state treasurer, and Sean Tonner, former deputy chief of staff to Owens.
When he was first arrested, Ankeney resigned his $63,000-a-year economic development post. At the time, Hybl said he was "shocked." Owens' then-spokesman, Dick Wadhams, said the governor was "sickened by the charges."
But, as detailed in the Aug. 30, 2001 Independent, which can be read online at csindy.com, many Republicans who were identified by sources as having spent time with Ankeney were quick to distance themselves from him after his arrest, including Jim Bensberg, who then was running for his first term as an El Paso county commissioner.
"I can't say I knew him well, and I'm glad I didn't," Bensberg told the Independent at the time. (Bensberg, who no longer speaks with this newspaper, is running unopposed for re-election in November.)
In the 2001 case, Ankeney, then 30, was accused of picking up a 13-year-old girl after he had met her on the Internet using the moniker "coloradofella." The girl told police he took her to his home in central Colorado Springs, got her drunk and stoned on marijuana, convinced her to take off her shirt and took photographs of her. After passing out on the couch, she woke to find Ankeney on top of her, kissing and fondling her. The girl told police that she feared Ankeney would rape her, but that he eventually let her up, apologized and told her that if she told anyone about the episode "he would ruin her life."
Ankeney later was charged with additional felonies after a 17-year-old girl claimed he had sexually assaulted her while the two were working on a political campaign. Ankeney eventually plea-bargained that down to a count of attempted sexual assault on a child.
In addition to jail time, Ankeney's license to practice law was suspended for three years a suspension that expired this Sept. 22, just five days before his latest arrest. John Gleason, regulation director of the Colorado Supreme Court, says Ankeney has not applied to have his law license reinstated.
Investigation is ongoing
The details of the most recent allegations against Ankeneyhave not been released. Douglas County Sheriff spokeswoman Kim Castellano says the search warrant, arrest warrant and booking records in last week's arrest are currently sealed because the investigation is ongoing.
The Independent has learned that the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, along with sheriff's officers, executed a search warrant at Ankeney's home the day of his arrest. He was transported to Larimer County, where the alleged incidents occurred, and now is awaiting an Oct. 5 hearing.
After his first release, Ankeney worked at a Highlands Ranch auto dealership. He left that job about six months ago, and it is unclear whether he held a job afterward. There is no indication that he has recently been involved in politics.
In the Arapahoe County case, a jury trial has been scheduled for Nov. 13. Ankeney is being represented by the high-powered Denver law firm of Haddon, Morgan, Mueller, Jordan, Mackey & Foreman the firm that basketball star Kobe Bryant employed to represent him in an Eagle County trial for sexual assault.
"Obviously, Mr. Ankeney has serious charges, and we hope that the truth is known and justice is done," says his attorney, Gregory Daniels. The firm, Daniels says, is not representing Ankeney in the Larimer County case.
Ankeney's father, a Colorado Springs commercial real estate broker, says he is "absolutely in shock."
"I hope this is one serious mistake," says Dave Ankeney, who has not seen his son in jail, but says he will love him always. "If he's innocent, it's a terrible injustice. If not, then he's got to pay the price."
Gleason, of the Colorado Supreme Court, says that if Ankeney is convicted again, the Supreme Court will likely take steps to permanently disbar him.