Flamed Out GOP Star Arrested For Child Sex Assault
Randal D. “Randy” Ankeney, the convicted sex offender who just a few short years ago was a rising GOP star in Colorado, is being held on a $1 million bond in Larimer County.
Ankeney, 35, who was arrested Wednesday, is facing five counts of sexual assault on a child, three counts of sexual enticement of a child and one count of sexual exploitation of a child. The felonies, if he is convicted, could send him to prison for life.
The charges come less than 15 months after the former attorney, head of Gov. Bill Owens’ economic development office in Colorado Springs and graduate of the Republican Leadership Program, was released from prison after serving a two-year sentence for attempted sexual assault on a child. At the time of his first arrest, in 2001, Ankeney was serving as the El Paso County co-chairman of Owens’ reelection campaign and was being groomed for a seat in the state legislature. His network of connections ranged from Bill Hybl, the powerful chairman of the El Pomar Foundation and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to Colorado Springs developer and school voucher advocate Steve Schuck, to current state Sen. Andy McElhany and state Rep. Bill Cadman.
Former friends liked to point out that Ankeney was so committed to the Republican Party that he named his dogs Reagan and Nixon.
One of 40 graduates of the prestigious Republican Leadership Program in 1996, Ankeney’s classmates included state Rep. Cadman, as well as Mark Hillman, who is currently running for state treasurer, and Sean Tonner, former deputy Chief of Staff to Gov. Owens and founder of Phase Line Strategies, a Denver-based political consulting firm. On Friday, Cadman and Hillman could not be reached; Tonner did not return a phone call seeking comment.
When he was first arrested in 2001, Ankeney resigned his $63,000-a-year economic development post. At the time, Hybl said he was “shocked.” Owens’ then-spokesman, Dick Wadhams, reported “the governor is sickened by the charges.”
But, as detailed in the Aug. 30, 2001 Colorado Springs Independent, numerous other Republicans attempted to distance themselves from Ankeney when queried about their relationship with him.
In the case, Ankeney, then 30, was accused of picking up a 13-year old girl up after he had met her on the Internet using the moniker “coloradofella.” The girl told police he took her to his home, in central Colorado Springs, got her drunk and stoned on marijuana, convinced her to take off her shirt and took photographs of her. When she passed out on the couch, she awoke to found Ankeney on top of her, kissing and fondling her. The girl told police that she feared Ankeney would rape her, but that he eventually let her up, apologized and told her that if she told anyone about the episode “he would ruin her life.”
He then dropped her off near a Wendy’s fast food restaurant, in the middle of the night.
Ankeney was later slapped with additional felony charges after a 17-year-old girl came forward, claiming Ankeney had sexually assaulted her while the two were working on a political campaign. Eventually, Ankeney pled to attempted sexual assault on a child.
In addition to jail time, Ankeney’s license to practice law was suspended for three years – which expired on Sept. 22, just five days before his latest arrest. John Gleason, regulation director of Colorado Supreme Court, said this week that Ankeney has not applied to have his law license reinstated.
The details of the most recent allegations against Ankeney, who has been living in Highlands Ranch with a girlfriend, have not been released. In an interview, Douglas County Sheriff spokeswoman Kim Castellano said the search warrant, arrest warrant and booking records have been sealed at the request of the investigator because the investigation is ongoing.
Colorado Confidential has learned, however, that the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, along with sheriff’s officers, executed a search warrant at Ankeney’s home on Wednesday, Sept. 27. After his arrest, he was transported to Larimer County, where the alleged incidents occurred. He is being held at the detention center in Fort Collins, awaiting an Oct. 5 hearing.
After his first release, Ankeney worked at a Highlands Ranch auto dealership until about six months ago. It is unclear whether he has held a job since, and there is no indication that he has recently been involved in politics.
Gleason says that if Ankeney is convicted on the latest charges, the Supreme Court will likely take steps to permanently disbar him.