An Air Force Academy cadet faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison after a civilian jury convicted him of a felony sex offense, according to the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office in Colorado. The cadet He will also be expelled from the academy.
Cadet 1st Class Daniel Ryerson was accused of sexually assaulting a female cadet on Nov. 1, 2014, when both checked into a Boulder hotel and attended several parties, according to court records. The alleged victim told law enforcement officers that she woke up the following morning in the hotel room and believed she had been raped. Ryerson denied any wrongdoing, but DNA evidence linked him to the alleged crime.
On Wednesday evening, Ryerson was found guilty of sexual assault on a victim who was incapable of consenting to sex, but he was acquitted of charges of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a physically helpless victim, said Catherine Olguin, a spokesman for the district attorney's office.
There is no mandatory sentence for Ryerson's conviction, Olguin told Air Force Times on Thursday. The court has the option of sentencing Ryerson to probation or to a prison term ranging anywhere from several years to the rest of his life, she said.
Ryerson is currently free pending a pre-sentence investigation and psycho sexual evaluation, after which prosecutors will determine which sentence to recommend for him, Olguin said. Ryerson's sentencing hearing is slated for Jan. 12, she said.
John Pineau, Ryerson's attorney, declined to comment and said his client would not make a statement for this story.
Following Ryerson's conviction Now that Ryerson has been convicted of sexual assault, the Air Force Academy is in the process of expelling him, said Meade Warthen, an academy spokesman.
"Disenrollment proceedings for Cadet Ryerson will be initiated as required by DoD and Air Force regulations when an individual is convicted of sexual assault," Warthen said in an email to Air Force Times. "The Academy will continue to closely monitor the case and cooperate with Boulder authorities concerning the sentencing case and the remaining charges.
"Cadet Ryerson is no longer physically at the Academy; however, the Academy will continue to provide support to him until he is officially dis-enrolled. The Academy will continue to provide care and support to the victim. The Academy is committed to fostering a culture where each person gives and receives dignity and respect."