A hearing Thursday aired new charges against a former employee at VillaSport Athletic Club and Spa accused of alleged sexual assault of four children under his care at the eastern Colorado Springs club.
Ryan Callins, 22, appeared in court to plead not guilty on charges that he sexually abused twin 7-year-old girls at the club’s day care facility last year. An amended court document, filed Sept. 23, shows that four additional charges were brought against Callins: two counts of criminal attempt to commit sexual assault on a child by person in a position of trust and two counts of criminal attempt to commit unlawful sexual contact.
He is now accused of abusing four children, said Lee Richards, spokeswoman for the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
Police began investigating Callins in February after a club member reported that she overheard her twin daughters whisper that he had made them touch his genitals while at VillaKids, one of the club’s day care facilities. Court documents indicate that the touching occurred between June 1 and Nov. 13, 2018.
Other parents, whose children were under Callins’ supervision, didn’t learn about that investigation until nearly five months later. That’s when police notified them by email and club managers addressed the issue in a Facebook post. Though no law required police to notify the public of its investigations, many parents were angered by the lack of transparency and urgency in a situation that could have exposed their children to danger.
VillaKids is a “license-exempt” facility because it cares for children less than three hours at a time, said Julia Anderson, a spokeswoman at the Colorado Office of Early Childhood. While the state Department of Human Services was notified of the allegation, it isn’t required to investigate cases at unlicensed facilities, she said.
The new cases allege sexual assault of two more children between Jan. 1 and March 25, 2018, court documents show.
Police declined to share details on the case, explaining that it is still an active investigation. They can release additional information “when it will not hamper the original investigation or deny justice to any further victims identified as a result of the initial arrest,” said police spokesman Lt. Jim Sokolik.
In the initial charges, court documents allege that Callins was under “a small play gym ramp” with the twin sisters when he asked them to touch his “ticklish spot” underneath his shorts. He told the twins to keep the incident a secret so they wouldn’t “get in trouble.” Details on the new allegations weren’t included in court documents.
4th Judicial District Judge Deborah Grohs set Callins’ trial for Feb. 10. A preliminary hearing for the additional charges was set for Nov. 14. His public defender, Michael Bowman, didn’t return The Gazette’s request to comment on the case.
If you suspect child abuse, you can report it to Colorado’s Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-844-264-5437 or call 911 for life-threatening situations.
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