Sheriff’s captain: Hildyard’s abuses scarred generations |

Sheriff’s captain: Hildyard’s abuses scarred generations

SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County Sheriff’s Capt. Derek Woodman confirmed Friday what other victims’ family members have said – that convicted child abuser Joe Hildyard reportedly abused boys for many years, perhaps decades, before his arrest in 1992.

Woodman, who was a special operations sergeant with the sheriff’s office in 1992, said adult men came to the sheriff’s office after Hildyard’s arrest to confess that he had assaulted them when they were children. Those men “said they would never testify because they had families, but they wanted to let us know it was, in fact, true,” Woodman said.

“I knew many of them, personally and professionally,” he said.

Hildyard, sentenced to 30 years in prison in 1992 on several counts of sexual assault, is eligible for parole, and set for a parole hearing Tuesday in Canon City. Now 63, he is an inmate at the Arrowhead Minimum Security facility.

Hildyard lived in Frisco, and was director of the

Silverthorne/Dillon Joint Sewer Authority. For years before his arrest, his home was a gathering place for young boys.

It also was the alleged site of countless sexual assaults, violations that included oral and anal intercourse with boys as young as 5.

The scandal, Woodman said, shook the community to its core.

“While a homicide is horribly tragic, there is really a limited number of people it actually affects,” Woodman said. “This was so far reaching. It affected many, many individuals directly and indirectly.

“From rural America to any big city, this was a substantial case.”

While Hildyard apologized for the pain he’d caused his victims and their families during his sentencing, Woodman doesn’t hold that apology in much regard.

“(The evidence) was absolutely horrible. We had an airtight case, and obviously, he knew it,” he said.

Colorado Department of Corrections representatives can say little about what kind of prisoner Joe Hildyard has been during his 10 years in the system, but his assignment to a minimum security prison speaks for them.

“Inmates are placed by their behavior in prison, not by their crime,” said Linda Carroll, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Corrections. “He is certainly not misbehaving or he would not be in this type (of facility).”

Fifth Judicial District Court Judge Terry Ruckriegle, who still sits on the bench, sentenced Hildyard.

“In light of the sentence, I’m surprised it’s this early,” Ruckriegle said of Hildyard’s scheduled parole hearing. He declined to comment further, saying he’d made all the comments he cared to 11 years ago at Hildyard’s sentencing.

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

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