Randal D. “Randy” Ankeney, the prominent onetime appointee in former Gov. Bill Owens’ administration who was being groomed as a future GOP leader in Colorado, is back behind bars. Today, Jan. 28, Ankeney is expected to plead guilty to sex crimes in an Arapahoe County case involving a 20-year old woman. Ankeney has already been in jail since Jan. 4, after being sentenced to eight years in prison for another sex-related crime involving a 14-year old girl in Larimer County.
The specific details of the Arapahoe and Larimer county assault cases have been sealed, pending their outcomes. But Ankeney’s incarceration comes less than three years after he was released from the Department of Corrections after serving a two-year sentence in a high-profile case in El Paso County. (A timeline of Ankeney’s activities appears below.)
When Ankeney, then 30, was first arrested in 2001, he stood accused of picking up a 13-year old girl he had met on the Internet, taking her to his home, getting her drunk and stoned on marijuana, taking topless photos of her and trying to coerce her into having sex with him. Many prominent GOP leaders at the time – including Owens – were stunned and repulsed by his arrest, which was detailed by The Colorado Springs Independent on Aug. 30, 2001.
Several Colorado Springs Republicans immediately sought to distance themselves from the man for whom they had high expectations, including an expected run for public office – a man who was so passionately committed to his political party that he named his dogs Nixon and Reagan. Others said they were unaware of Ankeney’s double life but did not deny their close ties to him.
Earlier this month, Dave Ankeney, Randy Ankeney’s father, declined to comment about his son’s latest incarceration. “You caught me at a really busy time, I can’t talk right now,” he said. When Randy Ankeney was initially arrested for the assault in Larimer County in October 2006, Dave Ankeney – a respected commercial real estate broker in Colorado Springs – said he was devastated.
“You’re talking to someone who’s got a knife in his heart,” the senior Ankeney said at the time. “We are hoping this is a serious mistake — we are all in shock.”
Last week, Randy Ankeney’s brother, Geoffrey Ankeney, was more willing to share his views about the brother he describes as his “best friend” since age 7. Geoffrey Ankeney, who lives in Washington state, describes his family as “heartbroken.”
Geoffrey Ankeney said that he hasn’t been in touch with his brother since he pleaded guilty. However, the two were in close contact throughout the latest 16-month legal proceedings. Ultimately, Geoffrey Ankeney said, his brother accepted the plea deals in both counties to be able to serve the minimum amount of time in prison as possible.
Last year, Randy Ankeney fathered a baby boy with a former girlfriend and is committed to supporting his son and sharing in parenting responsibilities, his brother said. He feared that if the cases went to trial, he stood the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison and would not be able to see his son again, the brother said.
In addition, Geoffrey Ankeney maintained that, though his brother pleaded guilty to the charges he is convinced there is more to the story than appears – specifically, Geoffrey Ankeney said he is convinced his brother, a convicted sex offender, is not a predator but rather was engaged in highly promiscuous behavior.
“I worry how this might look in print, but everything he’s been accused of, well, there have always been way more facts to the story than what gets out,” Geoffrey Ankeney said. “He’s made some bad choices, but he’s not the only guilty party.”
“He was living a high-risk, high-intensity lifestyle and engaging in sexual activity with low commitment – and the fact is, there’s a whole segment of our society that does this.
“I do sympathize with the victims and the family of the victims, and ultimately the responsibility needs to be brought to bear by my brother,” Geoffrey Ankeney said. “His lifestyle was very high-risk, leaving him open to allegations like this.”
Since Ankeney was initially released from prison in 2004, he has lived in the south Denver suburb of Highlands Ranch. Among other activities, he partnered with a friend to operate kiosks in malls in Colorado Springs and Denver, selling electronics and digital media, according to a source who asked not to be identified but has followed Ankeney’s activities closely since his 2005 prison release. The source doesn’t buy the argument that Ankeney is guilty of nothing more than bad judgment.
In Larimer County, Randy Ankeney was initially charged with numerous felonies and misdemeanors, including sexual assault on a child, sexual exploitation of a child and enticement of a child. He was held on a $1 million bail for several months, until the bond was reduced and a family member put up the money for his release.
In the end, Ankeney pleaded guilty to one count of felony child abuse, a Class 4 felony, plus $4,280 in fines. The details of that case, involving a 14-year-old girl, have previously been sealed.
In Larimer County, Ankeney was represented by a state public defender – unlike the Arapahoe County case, in which he was represented by the high-powered Denver law firm Haddon, Morgan, Mueller, Jordan, Mackey & Foreman.
Brian Sugioka, the deputy district attorney prosecuting the Arapahoe County case, said Ankeney has agreed to plead guilty today to two Class 4 felony charges, including unlawful sexual contact and stalking, in exchange for a six-year prison term.
In that case, involving a 20-year old woman, Ankeney was originally slapped with three felony sex offenses, and two misdemeanor charges, ranging from sexual assault to false imprisonment. Sugioka said that he can’t comment on the details or the circumstances until after Ankeney’s sentencing is complete.
As for the high-powered Republican leaders who once pinned their hopes on a man they were grooming for great things, well, they’ve long disappeared, said Geoffrey Ankeney. And Randy, his brother said, is politically astute enough to understand why.
“They’ve all distanced themselves – in some cases it was mutual, and some wouldn’t go to bat for him,” Geoffrey Ankeney said. “He helped build some of their [political] careers, but there’s no way of putting a good spin on helping out a guy who is accused of sexual molestation.”
Timeline: The Rise and Fall of Randy Ankeney