Caretaker of Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled Adults Sentenced

GOLDEN, Colo. (May. 15, 2024) – Eugene “Gene” Gillespie was sentenced Tuesday by the First Judicial District Court to 8 years to life in prison for sexually assaulting two Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled (IDD) adults. Gillespie had been employed as a volunteer caregiver to individuals with disabilities since 1992 and has interacted with this vulnerable community across the metro area in at least three different volunteer programs.

As part of Gillespie’s plea in February of this year, the Defendant admitted to sexually assaulting one victim multiple times in approximately 2013 while on overnight trips and day visits. The Defendant also admitted to sexually assaulting a second victim multiple times from 2022-2023 in the program’s vehicles and inside their facility.

On Feb. 9, 2024, Gillespie pleaded guilty to:

Amended Count One: SEXUAL ASSAULT – AT-RISK PERSON – Section 18-6.5-103(7)(a); 18-3-402(1)(b), C.R.S. (F2) (naming both victims)

The remaining counts were dismissed as a result of his plea. Gillespie faced a potential penalty that ranged from work release or probation to community corrections or up to 24 years to life in prison.

Across the State of Colorado, there are dozens of day programs designed for adults with disabilities to live fruitful, social, and fulfilling lives- from organizing large events to daily activities such as movies or parks. The programs rely on volunteers or minimum-wage workers to drive, supervise, and spend time with adult clients. Prosecutors argued that for over 30 years, Gillespie was one of these volunteers who availed himself of opportunities to spend one-on-one time with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

At sentencing, prosecutors advocated for a lengthy prison sentence, arguing that Gillespie had a history of grooming and predatory behavior, “The People feel that it is critical for the Court to be aware of the magnitude of the opportunity of abuse and the complete shattering of trust that his actions have had on the victims, their families, and the IDD community at large,” said Deputy District Attorney Sarah Masterson. “Gillespie was deeply entwined in the IDD community, always in a significant position of trust, where he created an environment where he was trusted and relied on and was needed, and then, as he begins to sexually assault them, he creates fear and separation from their family and loved ones and makes them feel like they’re trapped,” said Masterson.

Two victims stated in their letters to the Court that for so long, they were too scared to tell anyone what was happening to them. One victim said, “He scared me into not telling anyone…” “He told me that if I tell anyone, we’d both be in trouble.” “Please put him in prison so he can’t keep hurting people,” they said. 

Prosecutors also noted that while Gillespie was out on bond in this case, the People received numerous calls from volunteers and community members that Gillespie attended a bowling event with individuals with disabilities. “It’s extremely concerning that Gillespie was surrounding himself with vulnerable adults that he was able to manipulate and prey on even while on pretrial services in this case,” said Masterson.  

Gillespie also addressed the court; “I am a monster,” he said. “I’ve hurt so many people.” Gillespie indicated to the court that he was hoping for community corrections so he could get the “intense therapy” he needed.

District Court Judge Diego Hunt, in his ruling, highlighted Mr. Gillespie’s “explicit grooming” of these individuals for the purpose of assaulting them not once but in several incidents over the course of years. Despite recognizing several mitigating factors like Gillespie’s advanced age, poor health, and lack of criminal history, the Court deemed prison appropriate given the severity of the conduct “and the amount of time Mr. Gillespie victimized these two individuals.”

Statement from Deputy District Attorney Sarah Masterson:

“Our brave victims raised their voices against someone in a position of trust, and we are deeply grateful for their faith in us. We also thank the Arvada Police Department for their thorough investigation and our Investigator from the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office for her unwavering commitment to this case and the IDD adult community at large; their work was instrumental in attaining a measure of justice.