Convicted child rapist's request for sentence reduction denied |

Convicted child rapist’s request for sentence reduction is denied

John Brothers

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A former Christian school teacher and pastor convicted of repeatedly raping a child lost his motion for a reconsideration of his sentencing this week.

John Brothers, 49, was convicted in 2014 of 16 felony counts of sex offenses against a child, each of which carried a sentence of 20 years to life, to be served concurrently.

In a motion filed in the Routt Combined Court, Brothers’ lawyers argued he has exhibited good behavior in prison and wants to seek more intensive rehabilitation treatment, which would require a lighter sentence.

The crimes Brothers was convicted of date back to 2007 and include eight different instances in which Brothers molested a boy, who was 12 years old at the time. The boy eventually reported the incidents to the Routt County Sheriff’s Office in 2012.

During the trial, prosecutors argued Brothers used his position in the church to present himself as a positive and supportive force in the boy’s life. His family allowed Brothers to stay at their Steamboat Springs residence, where he molested the boy in his own bedroom.

District Attorney Brett Barkey filed a response to Brothers’ motion rejecting his request. In that response, Barkey argued Brothers is “nowhere near deserving of or appropriate for sentence reconsideration.”

Barkey, a prosecutor in the original trial, believed Brothers’ 20-year sentence was already too lenient.

This is not the first time that Brothers has sought clemency for his sentence. 

Following his original conviction, Brothers appealed the case to the Colorado Court of Appeals, which affirmed his convictions last year. The Colorado Supreme Court denied a review of the case, according to the motion from Brothers’ attorneys.

Brothers is currently an inmate at the Sterling Correctional Facility, the largest prison in the Colorado Department of Corrections system. According to the department’s records, he will not be eligible for parole until 2031.

In a letter sent by his lawyers to the Routt Combined Court, Brothers argued he cannot receive the rehabilitation he needs under his current sentencing.

“Long incarceration can never adequately provide for the attention and treatment that I desperately need and desire,” he wrote. 

Shelley Hill, the district court judge who oversaw Brothers’ original sentencing, was not convinced. In her explanation denying his sentence reconsideration, Hill mentioned the egregious nature of his crimes and chance of recidivism.

She described him as a trusted church figure in the eyes of the boy and his family, who manipulated that trust for deplorable ends, according to her written denial. 

“Given the type of conviction, the manner in which the sexual assaults occurred and the risk to the public of recurrence, the court cannot grant Defendant’s motion,” she wrote. “The sentence was appropriate before and remains so still.”

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