Trial for Royal Gorge Academy
official begins Monday
August 25, 2007
By Vice Vela
A week-long trial is scheduled to
being Monday for the Royal Gorge Academy co-founder who faces
allegations that he assaulted several teenagers who once attended
the private boarding school.
Randall Hinton, 32, is set to
defend himself against seven counts of third-degree assault and two
counts of false imprisonment. All charges Hinton faces are
misdemeanors that carry potential jail time, if convicted.
The trial is the culmination of an
investigation that began in January and was carried out by the Cañon
City Police Department.
According to police records, Hinton
allegedly was abusive toward as many as seven different students.
Five of the alleged victims are scheduled to testify next week.
While Hinton’s attorney does not
dispute some physical action being taken by Hinton, he contends his
client’s conduct was appropriate given the circumstances.
“There’s no question he used
restraint on some of the children,” said Cañon City attorney Michael
Gillick. “But, some of the allegations are just plain lies.”
Gillick said many of the students
who are sent to the school are there because of “manipulation,
drugs, sex and lies.”
“None of these kids were there for
being angels in heaven,” he said. “The charges are an overreaction
on the part of the police department.”
The Fremont County District
Attorney’s Office was reached, but declined to comment for this
Hinton helped to open the boarding
school in the spring of 2006. The school houses boys and girls, ages
13-17, who have been sent to the school for various reasons,
including behavioral and academic problems.
Because there are no felony charges
involved, the matter will be heard in Fremont County Court. Judge
Norman Cooling will preside during the trial.
The trial begins at 8:30 a.m.
Monday with selection of a six-person jury. Opening arguments may
commence shortly thereafter.