Court briefs

Frank Lavoie
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Retrial next for former coach

Frank Lavoie, the 33-year-old former wrestling coach and English teacher at Mountain Vista High School who is accused of having sex with a 17-year-old female student while employed at the school, is done for now with any scheduled motions hearings and will be back in court March 19 when his retrial is scheduled to begin. Lavoie sat through a weeklong trial in September but the jury could not reach a verdict.

In the first trial, the accuser testified for nearly two hours about her relationship with Lavoie and four different instances where she allegedly had sex with him in 2009 during her senior year of high school. Lavoie admitted to having sex with the accuser, but stated he did not do so until after she had graduated and turned 18. This was the same story he gave about two other former students from Virginia who flew in to testify on behalf of the prosecution as character witnesses.

A heated motions hearing before the first trial centered on whether the witnesses from Virginia would be allowed to testify and whether details about the use of Lavoie’s personal credit card by the accuser would be admissible. While each attorney lost a key battle in the respective motions, those two items have not been put back on the table for Judge Paul King to reconsider.

“That hearing happened within the context of the first trial so we won’t do it again,” said Deputy District Attorney Chris Gallo. “We have to play by all of the previous rules, unless the judge reconsiders any of them himself. Neither of us has asked to have these rulings reconsidered.”

Ex-teacher’s arraignment set

The arraignment for Rick Johnson, the 31-year-old former Rocky Heights Middle School teacher and Rock Canyon High School basketball coach accused of sexually assaulting a female student, has been set for 1:30 p.m. March 4 in Castle Rock.

According to Deputy District Attorney Chris Gallo, Johnson faces 30 charges, all involving one victim. The total includes 10 counts each of sex assault on a child by a person in a position of trust and patterned sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, as well as five counts each of sexual exploitation and enticement of a child.

Johnson, who was arrested Nov. 13, is free on a $50,000 bond. According to a letter from Andy Abner, principal at Rock Canyon, Johnson left the school district last spring for personal reasons unrelated to those allegations.

Onetime pastor has court date

Matt Capranelli, the 41-year-old former youth pastor at Mountain View Community Church in Highlands Ranch, who was arrested Nov. 13 on eight felony charges, including sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, will make his first court appearance Jan. 31 in the 18th Judicial District Court when the District Attorney’s Office takes his deposition.

Capranelli allegedly sexually assaulted a female youth group attendee. He is free on $50,000 bond.

Driver in double fatal to appear

Thomas Garrity, 74, of Bellevue, Neb., will make his first court appearance Jan. 16 in Douglas County following a fatal accident that took the lives of two construction workers Nov. 20 at the intersection of C-470 and Broadway.

The Nebraska man is facing two counts of careless driving causing death, a Class 1 misdemeanor. Both he and his 72-year-old female passenger were treated for minor injuries and released the day of the accident.