Gypsum man remains detained after acquittal
Eagle County correspondent
DENVER ” He was in an Eagle County jail for 17 months for a crime a jury decided he didn’t commit.
Now, Fabian Vazquez, the 24-year-old from Gypsum who has cerebral palsy, is sitting in an immigration detention center in Aurora waiting to be deported to Mexico or given asylum in the United States.
Though an Eagle County jury acquitted Vazquez on June 14 of attempted sexual assault, he was handed over to immigration authorities two days later. Fabian has lived in the country for 12 years, and his whole family is close to getting residency status.
Last week, a judge didn’t set bail for Fabian, saying more information on the case was needed, said Jorge Vazquez, Fabian’s brother.
“It’s a battle,” Jorge Vazquez said, adding the family has spent more than $30,000 in legal fees. “The options are voluntary departure or asylum,” Vazquez added.
Jeff Joseph, Fabian’s immigration attorney from Denver, declined to discuss Fabian’s case, but said there are a lot of options for people in the Fabian’s situation.
Because of his health problems, Vazquez has had panic attacks and seizures while under detention in Aurora. He had similar problems at the Eagle County jail, Jorge Vazquez said.
Even some of the Eagle County jail employees said they were concerned about Fabian being moved to another detention facility. Fabian had a panic attack last week, Jorge Vazquez said.
“He asked to be moved to another room because somebody was bothering him,” Jorge Vazquez said. “My mother is very worried.”
As worried as Fabian’s mother is about her son’s health, she can call him on the phone but can’t visit him, Jorge Vazquez said.
“The (immigration) lawyer has recommend we don’t go to visit (Fabian) because of our status,” he said.
That Fabian remains detained in Aurora is another blow to the family, said Jim Fahrenholtz, a local defense attorney who represented Vazquez in the assault case.
“We were expecting that Fabian would get bond from the INS,” Fahrenholtz said. “I don’t know why the judge can’t make a decision quickly.”
Vazquez was acquitted of attempted sexual assault on a child ” a charge that can carry a sentence of six years in prison. He was accused of trying to touch a 14-year-old boy’s penis on a bus going from Avon to Eagle.
Fahrenholtz said the alleged victim misinterpreted Fabian’s intentions, because Fabian has a hard time communicating verbally.
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