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Crime and Courts

DA drops sex assault case against former Boulder meditation teacher

William Karelis, 72, had been charged with sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust and was set to go to trial Monday

BOULDER — Prosecutors have moved to dismiss the case against a former teacher from a Buddhist meditation center who was accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl.

The Daily Camera reports the Boulder County District Attorney’s office filed a motion Wednesday saying the alleged victim has refused to meet with prosecutors “due to trauma from this case.”

TODAY’S UNDERWRITER

William Karelis, 72, had been charged with sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust and was set to go to trial Monday. Defense attorney Paul McCormick released a statement Thursday calling Karelis an innocent man and describing the case as “punctuated by numerous lies.”

“We believe the more reasonable interpretation of the alleged victim’s actions is that when she realized the jig was up and she would have to go to court and testify under penalty of perjury, panic set in, not panic engendered by Mr. Karelis, but panic in committing perjury,” he said.

Prosecutors say Karelis met the girl through the Shambhala center in the 1990s, when he was assigned to be her meditation instructor. She was about 8.

Sometime around 2000, when the girl was about 13, she said Karelis sexually abused her multiple times while she stayed at his home for teachings. Investigators did not become aware of the case until 2018, when the alleged victim — now in her 30s — told a friend and the friend contacted Boulder police.


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