Former Highlands Ranch youth pastor set for trial

Plea agreement could be in works for Capranelli

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A November trial date has been set for a former Highlands Ranch youth pastor accused of sexual assault on a child in a position of trust.

Matt Capranelli, formerly employed with Mountain View Community Church, was 41 when he was arrested in November. He is charged with eight felony counts for his alleged involvement with a former female member of the youth group.

After denying a request by Capranelli for a fourth continuance at a July 8 arraignment, 18th Judicial District Court Judge Richard Caschette entered a not-guilty plea on Capranelli’s behalf and set a motions date of Oct. 4.

Public Defender Emily Witham, who is representing Capranelli, informed Caschette that she had recently received a plea offer from the district attorney’s office and that she needed to review it and discuss it with the prosecution.

“This is the fourth continuance that has been requested,” Caschette said. “We need to get this trial underway. As long as it won’t interfere with discussions between the two parties, any outstanding offers will remain open until motions.”

Deputy District Attorney Chris Gallo said that if an agreement is not reached by the time the defendant files motions, the DA’s office will pull any offers they have made and proceed with a jury trial. Caschette scheduled a four-day trial to begin Nov. 12.

Capranelli, who according to his Facebook page resides in Pueblo West, remains free on a $50,000 bond. One of the bond conditions is that he is not allowed to spend unsupervised time with his three children, ages 6, 11 and 12.

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