TELLURIDE – Telluride Academy instructor Jeffrey Edmund Horvat has been charged with second-degree assault in an attack on Telluride resident Skip Lichter that took place Saturday, Aug., at approximately 3 a.m.
Horvat, in his second year as an instructor at the academy, “said he was riding his bike” toward a bridge near main street “when he was knocked off his bike,” according to the police officer who responded to the scene.
Horvat’s bloodied sweater and bicycle lock-and-chain were collected as evidence.
A witness said that the night before the early-morning assault, Lichter had told Horvat to unchain his bicycle from a fence near Lichter’s bar, on main street.
Several hours later, Horvat, who, according to the responding officer, had a “strong odor of an unknown alcoholic beverage upon his breath,” was seen hitting Lichter “in the face with what looked like a whip,” but turned out to be a bicycle lock-and-chain, said a witness to the attack.
According to a Criminal Report file online at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s website, Horvat, 24, faced felony second-degree assault charges stemming from a Nov. 24, 2009 incident in Durango, which were later dismissed by the district attorney.
Telluride Academy Executive Director Elaine Demas said of Horvat's response to the felony charges, “He claims he was assaulted, and it was a self-defense type of situation.”
A 2011 background check done by “the private organization that does all of our background checks” turned up those second-degree assault charges brought against Horvat in 2009 – and their dismissal, Demas said.
That background check did not, however, reveal misdemeanor third-degree assault charges brought against Horvat in an Aug. 12 domestic violence incident, reported on Aug. 13, in Durango, that led to 12 months probation, and misdemeanor charges of damage to property, disturbing the peace and trespassing, in Denver, on Sept. 30, 2008.
“Ironically,” Demas said, “a new law in the State of Colorado” will require fingerprinting and CBI background checks of all new hires, next year.
Horvat “called me immediately” after his arrest, Demas added. “He feels very horrible about it all, and is trying to get to the bottom of it.”
But “until his day in court,” she said, “he is not working for us.”
Lichter was transported to Telluride Medical Center with serious head injuries, a broken hand and vision problems.