Mark Archer is accused of sexually abusing a now 14-year-old girl. He faces four charges: sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, two separate counts of sexual exploitation of a child – all Class Three felonies – as well as an additional Class Four felony sexual offense, the nature of which the Sheriff’s Department asked to keep confidential in order to protect the victim.
The alleged offenses occurred at Archer’s residence east of Ridgway about two years ago, Ouray County Sheriff Junior Mattivi said.
The victim and her mother reported the alleged incidents to the Department of Social Services in early January, Mattivi said. Social Services then contacted the Sheriff’s Department, which opened an investigation on the matter.
The victim was interviewed by a forensic interviewer at the Dolphin House, a child-friendly facility in Montrose serving the 7th Judicial District, whose stated purpose is to “provide children a safe place for telling a difficult story during a necessary investigation of child abuse.”
The Ouray County Sheriff’s Department, meanwhile, interviewed Archer.
“The stories matched pretty close,” Mattivi said. “At first, he denied it. But as the interview went on, he did open up. He was very cooperative. He said he would turn himself in, which he did. We met him at his house, placed him in custody, and brought him to the Montrose County Jail.”
The arrest took place on Friday, Jan. 27.
Information offered by both Archer and his victim indicate that there “wasn’t any penetration,” Mattivi said. “It was more of a fondling, taking pictures, that kind of thing. In his mind, everything he did was appropriate.”
While cases such as this are quite rare in Ouray County, Mattivi said that Montrose County currently undergoing an “epidemic” of sexual assaults. “They’ve got people that that’s all they’re working, is sex assault cases,” he said. “It seems to me that there has been an increase. I don’t know if people are reporting it more, or if it’s happening more.”
Archer has applied to have his case taken on by a public defender, Mattivi said.