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Board denies Hildyard parole

CA–ON CITY – Convicted sex offender Joe Hildyard, formerly a Frisco resident, calmly admitted during his Tuesday parole hearing to abusing scores of boys in his lifetime.

“I’ve had about 58 or 59 victims,” he told parole board chairman Allen Stanley. “I’ve had a lot of years to think about what I did and how I affected people.”

Hildyard, who has completed part of a court-required sex offender treatment program, then said he’s kept any sexual fantasies at bay for the past year and asked Stanley to grant him his freedom.



That request was denied, and for the maximum period possible. Stanley could have allowed Hildyard to come back for another parole hearing in a year or two, but he chose to push that next date out three years to May 2006.

Eight people – one of them a victim and the others family members of boys he had assaulted – also pleaded with Stanley during the hearing at Canon City’s Arrowhead minimum security prison, but they asked him to keep the 63-year-old man behind bars.



The former Frisco resident was jailed 11 years ago after he pleaded guilty to six counts of sexual assault. He was originally charged with 416 counts but agreed to a plea bargain and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Hildyard was director of the Silverthorne/Dillon Joint Sewer Authority. Officials suspect he may have abused boys in his Frisco home for more than a decade, using drugs, barbecues and motorcycles and snowmobiles to lure them there.

Victims said Hildyard showed them -rated movies and gave them money. One boy said Hildyard gave him $20 after each sexual encounter and told the boy he would kill himself, “if you ever stop loving me.” He told another boy that the two of them were friends and that the sexual acts were “what friends do for one another.”

One of those boys, now 25, drove from Arkansas to Canon City to speak his piece during Tuesday’s hearing. The man, who asked to be identified only by his initials, D.A.S., was abused from age 5 to 13. It was his eventual confession to his father that finally landed Hildyard in jail.

Tuesday, when D.A.S. saw Hildyard – a heavyset, large-jowled and mostly bald man clad in forest green jail togs – his jaw clenched and his entire body began to tremble. D.A.S. told Stanley it would be an insult to the victims to grant Hildyard parole.

“He’s spent more time throughout his life hurting people than he has in this facility,” said D.A.S. “He has a taste for young boys now.”

While D.A.S. is now married and working with inner-city children as a youth minister, his parents say he struggled for years to come to grips with his history. He spent years addicted to drugs and had trouble holding a steady job, they say.

The fate was worse for Seth Astuto. Hildyard reportedly abused Astuto for two years, beginning when the former Frisco boy was 13, his parents say. In 1999, then 26-year-old Seth hanged himself. His mother believes Hildyard’s abuse sent her son on the destructive path that ended in his death.

In a voice that sometimes trembled, Becky Astuto read a statement to Stanley while Hildyard sat in a chair, his back to the family members. While the Astutos suspected Hildyard of abusing their son, Becky Astuto said Hildyard ignored her pleas for him to send Seth home.

“He blatantly exercised the power and control he had over my son,” she said. “I heard him say it was very hard for him to leave Seth alone and how special this relationship was to him,” she said.

The family eventually moved to Australia and has since moved back to Frisco.

While they were in Australia, Seth became addicted to drugs and alcohol and began prostituting himself at gay bars to earn money to support his habits, his parents said. His father, Mike, said Seth “learned at that tender age (13) that he could get money from doing sexual acts.”

Even though Hildyard’s parole was denied, he will not serve his full 30-year sentence. A prisoner’s sentence is shaved by 10 days a month for good behavior – a total of four months a year – and Hildyard has been a model prisoner. Stanley cautioned the victims who testified Tuesday to be ready for that day.

“He’s going to get out,” Stanley said. “You’ve got to get prepared. If you do not have them, you need to get restraining orders in place so he does not bother you.”

Dave Stevens, whose son was one of Hildyard’s victim, said he’s happy the man will, for now, remain in prison. Stevens talks openly about his desire to kill Hildyard, cheerfully demonstrating the twist of an arm he’d used to wrench the prisoner’s neck.

But he’s also confident that a greater punishment awaits Hildyard.

“I have faith in God,” he said. “(Hildyard) is going to have a very tough time when he crosses over (to the next life).”

Jane Reuter can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at jreuter@summitdaily.com


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