- We say bin Laden, the Gazette says bin Ladin...The folks over at the city's daily newspaper got so excited last week when the world's most wanted terrorist was caught on tape chatting about the World Trade Center attacks that they ran out and printed up these catchy rack cards to help sell papers. Unfortunately, they forgot to spell check the name of Public Enemy No. 1 before splashing them on their news boxes all across the county.
Christmas isn't looking so merry for Randy Ankeney, the local Republican Party's golden boy turned accused child molester.
Ankeney's trial for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old who he picked up off the Internet was slated to begin this week. Instead, he's has been slapped with an additional charge of sexually assaulting another minor while he was heading up Republican Bill Cadman's successful 2000 political campaign for the State House of Representatives.
The second girl came forward after reading about Ankeney's arrest on July 31, said Colorado Springs Police Detective Terry Duran. The girl, who was reportedly 17 years old at the time, was also working on Cadman's campaign as a volunteer through her high school's Young Republican's club, Duran said. The detective declined to describe the extent of the latest alleged assault, a class four felony.
Ankeney, 30, is already facing three felonies and two misdemeanor charges stemming from his July arrest. The district attorney's office alleges that Ankeney had picked up a 13-year-old girl on an Internet chat line, then brought her to his home near downtown Colorado Springs, got her drunk and stoned, took topless photos of her and tried to coerce her into having sex with him. The police affidavit indicates the girl feared she would be raped, and alleges Ankeney warned her that if she told anyone about the encounter that he would "ruin" her life.
The arrest sent a shock through powerful Republican circles. After all, Ankeney had been serving as the county co-chair of Gov. Bill Owens' 2002 election campaign. In addition, he held a $63,000-a-year job as the governor's regional representative of his office of economic development. He resigned both posts at the time of his arrest.
In addition to heading up Cadman's campaign, Ankeney has volunteered on several other GOP political campaigns, including state Sen. Andy McElhaney. A graduate of the Republican Leadership Council, Ankeney, a former El Pomar Foundation fellow and licensed attorney, was himself being groomed for a future run for public office. He was so devoted to El Paso County's controlling political party he named his two dogs Reagan and Nixon.
Ankeney was not arrested on the latest charge and could not be reached this week. His lawyer, Kevin Donovan, declined to comment. Cadman, who was Congressman Joel Hefley's office manager in Colorado Springs for six years before he was elected to the state Legislature in 2000, did not return a call seeking comment about the man who helped put him in office.
Colorado Springs Police Detective Duran indicated that Cadman's 17-year-old volunteer did not immediately come forward to report the incident, which allegedly occurred in May 2000, because she was "scared."
"That's the normal reaction from a victim," Duran said. "She came forward after she had seen an article in the newspaper and wanted to report what had happened to her."
In the wake of the latest charge, Ankeney's trial has been continued. He will appear in court on Jan. 14 for a preliminary hearing.
Colorado Springs prides itself on its national designation as a city full of trees. Apparently, that's OK, as long as they are really little trees. Last week the city's Parks and Recreation Department announced a plan to chop down as many as 100 trees inside the Garden of the Gods. One spokesman claimed the trees are a fire hazard, ruin the tourists' view of the rocks inside the park -- and that some people don't want to have to get out of their cars to see the rocks when they drive through the garden. At least honesty is still their policy.