Federal prosecutors have charged a former Westminster police officer, whose 90-day jail sentence for unlawful sexual contact drew outrage, with a civil rights offense.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado on Monday announced that Curtis Lee Arganbright, 42, faces up to 10 years in federal prison if convicted of depriving the woman of her civil rights in the case, which dates back to 2017.
The Colorado Sun first reported in July that the FBI was investigating Arganbright, who pleaded guilty in November to unlawful sexual contact and official misconduct related to his crimes against the woman.
Arganbright was giving the 36-year-old woman a ride in his police vehicle to her home from St. Anthony Hospital North in Westminster early on the morning of Aug. 24, 2017, when he pulled off the road, handcuffed her and sexually assaulted her, prosecutors and court records say.
The woman had received treatment at St. Anthony Hospital North for severe alcohol intoxication and chronic alcohol abuse before the attack, according to a federal search warrant. Arganbright was called to the hospital after the woman was caught stealing medical supplies, records say.
Arganbright, who resigned from the Westminster Police Department after being arrested, also was sentenced to four years of probation in the state case, which was prosecuted by the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
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Arganbright was initially charged with felony counts of sexual assault by force and sexual assault through a position of authoritiy, but the victim refused to testify in court and the case ended in Arganbright pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges, a federal search warrant says.
The federal charges against Arganbright represent a rare intervention in a state case by Colorado’s U.S. Attorney’s Office, especially one involving a police officer.
Federal prosecutors say Arganbright appeared in federal court on Monday. The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice is prosecuting the case alongside Colorado’s U.S. Attorney’s Office.