Colorado police chief on leave pending criminal case after reported rapes during party at his house

OURAY, Colo. (AP) — A southwestern Colorado police chief has been placed on paid administrative leave after charges were filed against three men in the case of a 17-year-old girl who reported being raped by more than one person during a party at the chief's house.

The city of Ouray announced Monday that Police Chief Jeff Wood would remain on leave "pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings.” Wood does not have a listed personal phone number, and there was no immediate response to a message seeking comment left at a number given for him on the city's website.

Felony sexual assault charges were filed against the men, including a relative of the chief, for alleged actions during the May 2023 party at Wood's house where drugs and alcohol were used, according to court records. Wood was reportedly asleep during the party.

The defendants were ages 17, 18 and 19 at the time, records said.

The charges became widely known when a man stole nearly every copy of the Ouray County Plaindealer from newspaper racks on Jan. 18, the day it published a story about the case.

The man, who is not related to anyone in law enforcement or the defendants, was cited for the thefts. In social media posts, he said he was trying to protect the victim.

Sgt. Gary Ray has been named acting police chief, the city said.