Breckenridge date rape case could be tough one to prove | SummitDaily.com
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Breckenridge date rape case could be tough one to prove

Reid Williams

BRECKENRIDGE – When police issued a nationwide arrest warrant for Ira Largent, the story made national news. But prosecutors will need more than notoriety to get a conviction if the case heads to trial.

Largent, a 27-year-old California native living in Breckenridge, was arrested May 9 in Escondido, Calif. He posted bond and was released from the San Diego County Sheriff’s jail, and now is back in Summit County. The district attorney’s office has yet to issue subpoenas in the case or schedule a preliminary hearing.

Breckenridge police issued the nationwide arrest warrant for Largent hours before he turned himself in to California authorities. Summit County Court Judge Ed Casias signed an arrest warrant for Largent May 7 on a charge of first-degree sexual assault with an aggravated sentence enhancer for reportedly using date rape drugs to subdue the alleged victims. When Breckenridge police went to Largent’s apartment to serve the warrant the next day, they discovered the apartment was empty and Largent was gone.

That’s where the detective work stopped, said a friend of Largent’s. Some larger media outlets, including national TV news broadcasts, reported Largent had fled the county and state, and described him as a serial rapist. (Only two complaints were made against him.) A simple phone call by detectives to Largent’s boss, the friend said, would have told them Largent had borrowed his boss’s truck to drive to California for the wedding of a childhood friend. Largent’s friend also said the apartment was empty because the owner sold it and the suspect moved two blocks down the road.

Breckenridge Police Detective George Booth said, in interviews leading up to the arrest warrant, Largent tried to convince investigators he was unemployed.

“We have that on videotape,” Booth said. “This was 13 days before we found his apartment empty, and he gave no indication he was moving. And we did try to locate him. We went to all the places he said he used to work, and all the places he said he was trying to get a job. He told us he was unemployed.”

Booth also said there is no physical evidence nor witnesses against Largent. Two women made complaints against Largent, one in December and the second in April. The victims reportedly are friends of Largent’s who socialized with him in bars and, on the occasions in question, accepted alcoholic drinks from him and subsequently blacked out.

Other people have come forward to Booth since news of Largent’s arrest, the detective said. Booth said there might be other victims, but none other than the two original complainants have contacted him. He said those who have approached him made negative statements about Largent’s character, which may or may not be admissible in court.

While it’s a tough case for prosecutors to prove, Booth said he is confident a jury would find Largent guilty.

“The one victim, police contacted her in flight after the incident,” Booth said. “From the spontaneous utterances and the emotional outpouring – it really gives a victim credibility. In addition, the way the two of them describe his M.O. (modus operandi, or method of procedure) is just too similar.”

A prosecutor with the district attorney’s office said date rape drug cases can be difficult to prove, even if evidence of the drug used is found. Defense attorneys often argue the alleged victim was slipped the drug by another party in a social setting. The prosecution can win cases, however, by drawing connections between similarities in multiple incidents, the attorney said.

Largent could not be reached for comment. He also was charged by Breckenridge authorities with disorderly conduct in February 2001, to which he pleaded guilty, and with assault in December 2000.


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