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11th Judicial assistant district attorney charged for harassment

FREMONT COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- The 11th Judicial Assistant District Attorney Wendy Owens has been charged with disorderly conduct and harassment from an incident in a Safeway parking lot.

13 Investigates obtained video of the altercation that shows DA Wendy Owens flipping off a driver before coming up to his car and cussing at him to “pay attention.” In the video, Owens said the driver, Dan Francis, almost hit her with his car.

But Francis tells a different story. He said it was only a couple of days before Thanksgiving and the parking lot was packed. He had just come from inside the store with his groceries and was trying to back out of his parking spot.

When he eventually did and was driving through the parking lot, Owens walked in front of his car without looking. She kept walking before turning around and placing herself in front of the car.

“She looked back at me like she knew me or something,” Francis said. “I could tell it was really going to be an interesting deal, so I reached down, grabbed my phone, and put it on record.”

The video shows Owens flipping Francis off and then coming up to the driver's side window and cussing at him. She claims Francis was on his phone and not paying attention.

After the video ends, Francis said he got out of the car and Owens "looked as if she was going to punch him."

“I laughed,” Francis said,” like, ‘What's wrong with you? Why would you do that?’”

Francis said he got in his car and then eventually drove around Owens to the other end of the parking lot before leaving for home. He said he posted the video on his social media accounts.

At the time, Francis said he didn’t know who the woman was. He said the whole situation was laughable until people started messaging him to explain who she was. That’s when he decided to press charges.

“She's abusing her power,” Francis said. “I wanted to make sure that she loses her license and she doesn't do the same thing to me that she did to somebody else.”

When Francis learned Owens was the assistant district attorney he said if she was the victim behind the wheel he would be facing much more serious consequences.

“I hate to say that if the roles were reversed, I would’ve spent Thanksgiving in jail,” he said.

Owens was charged with disorderly conduct and harassment. She declined to comment through her attorney, Rick Bednarski, who said, “At this time, Ms. Owens is not willing to make a statement regarding these accusations.  However, Ms. Owens maintains her innocence regarding these accusations and will be vindicated through the court process.”

13 Investigates also reached out to her boss, Linda Stanley, the district attorney for the 11th judicial district. She declined to comment on an active case. When pressed for more information she hung up the phone.

This isn’t the first time Owens has found herself in trouble as a lawyer. Eight months ago, the Wyoming State Bar publicly censored her for not following what her client asked. According to the censure, Owens failed to file an objection or response on multiple occasions for her client.

When Francis learned about the public censorship in Wyoming, he reported it to the Colorado Supreme Court. In a letter responding to the complaint, Owens said the complaint was harassment and retaliation for the November incident. Francis denies these claims and said Owens is abusing her position of power.

The criminal case has been transferred to a special prosecutor in the 4th judicial district in El Paso County due to the conflict of interest. The Fountain Police Department is also investigating the claims for the same reason.

Francis said arbitration is scheduled for Friday. But he’s confused about why arbitration is even an option in a criminal case.

“Why am I doing mediation? Isn't that the court's job? She's charged for harassment and disorderly conduct and that's what's going to make her lose your bar license,” Francis said. “But you want me to meditate, to go sit in front of this woman and then come up with some plan?”

Francis said the only outcome he will accept during arbitration is Owens losing her license.

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Quinn Ritzdorf

Quinn is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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