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Colorado newspapers stolen after publishing report on teenager’s alleged rape at police chief’s home

A newspaper in a Colorado town said hundreds of copies of its latest issue were stolen after it published a report about a teenage girl who was allegedly raped at the home of a police chief.

The 17-year-old girl told investigators she was repeatedly raped by three different teenagers at a party in May 2023, according to the Ouray County Plaindealer’s report. The newspaper reported that the alleged rape happened at Ouray Police Chief Jeff Wood’s home, but Wood himself has not been accused of any crime.

An affidavit from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which was obtained by the Plaindealer, says that the suspects had been drinking and using drugs on the day of the alleged crime. The victim told police she went in and out of consciousness but that she had not taken any drugs.

Gabriel Trujillo, 20, Ashton Whittington, 18, and Wood’s stepson Nate Dieffenderffer, who was 17 at the time of the alleged crime and not identified by law enforcement, were arrested this week in connection with the sexual assault. Whittington is not accused of participating but of not intervening.

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The three suspects in the case have all denied the allegations. They have each posted bail and have been released from jail, according to Fox 31.

The Plaindealer published the story on the front page of its Thursday issue, but its newsroom says many of the newspapers disappeared. In a Facebook post, the Plaindealer said someone stole copies of the newspaper from racks in Ouray and Ridgway.

The newspaper said someone deposited money into each newspaper box to open them before taking off with all the papers inside.

“All of our newspaper racks in Ouray and all but one rack in Ridgway were hit by a thief who stole all the newspapers. From what we know so far, it seems this person put in four quarters and took all the papers at these racks,” the Plaindealer said in a newsletter.

“It’s pretty clear that someone didn’t want the community to read the news this week,” the newsletter continued. “I’ll leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions on which story they didn’t want you to read.”

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Newspaper racks

The Ouray County Sheriff’s Office told Fox 31 it has received calls about the missing papers and that an investigator has been assigned to the case.

A suspect was identified Friday, according to the newspaper. However, the suspect’s identity will not be disclosed until a citation is handed down. The paper said the person is not related to Woods or the three accused rapists.

The Plaindealer’s newsletter said, “We’re not going to stop doing our job, which is to shine light on important issues in our community and keep you informed. This person is not going to shut down the freedom of the press by stealing a few hundred newspapers. Our community won’t stand for it, and we won’t, either.”

“If you meant to intimidate us, you just strengthened our resolve,” the newsletter said.

Read the full article here

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