Editor’s note: It is the Boomerang’s policy not to run names of defendants in sex crimes until a conviction, guilty or no contest pleas, unless the accused is a person of public interest, such as an elected official, or a person of public trust, such as a teacher or counselor.
A jury found Travis Bogard guilty of sexual assault in the first degree Friday, simultaneously finding him not guilty of an accompanying kidnapping charge.
Albany County Prosecuting Attorney Peggy Trent said the conviction was the first of its kind in at least 8-10 years and the first during her administration.
“(It’s) the first conviction of a sexual assault of this type of case — a ‘he-said-she-said’ — where you know the person, and one person is claiming that he forced me, another person is saying it was consensual,” she said. “In talking with some individuals from the Laramie Police Department, they think it’s been over 30 years.”
The county originally tried the case in District Court in June, but a hung jury resulted in mistrial.
“It was 11-1 guilty, so we decided as an office to retry the case,” Trent said. “It’s very difficult to retry a case, and so we were able to do additional investigation to kind of make sure we had enough corroboration of what the victim was saying.”
According to the affidavit, the victim told police she was with Bogard at the Ranger Bar at approximately 1:40 a.m. Oct. 29. Bogard invited the victim to “the after party” and she reluctantly agreed.
“He led her to another part of the building where she thought there was a Halloween after party in the motel side of the Ranger,” the affidavit states. “The defendant escorted the victim inside the bathroom. The defendant closed and locked the door.”
The victim asked to leave, but Bogard told her to stay, according to the affidavit. When the victim said she wanted to leave and go back to her friends, Bogard picked her up and moved her against the window sill.
“She attempted to use pressure points taught to her by her father to stop the Defendant,” the affidavit states. “However, he would not stop.”
The victim attempted to flee, but Bogard restrained her.
“The Victim was in pain and tried to push him away but was physically unable to do so because he was too strong and (had) physically overpowered her,” the affidavit states.
Video footage from the Ranger Bar showed both Bogard and the victim talking and moving to the northwest end of the bar.
“The Defendant and the Victim exit the frame, heading south,” the affidavit states. “A short time later, the Defendant reappears and has a grin on his face and the Victim exits moments later appearing upset and on her cellular telephone.”
At 3:07 a.m. the same night, the victim received a SANE exam at Ivinson Memorial Hospital. The exam “revealed abrasions to the victim’s back, right leg, right arm” and other abrasions, according to the affidavit.
Trent credits the successful conviction of the sexual assault charge to a newly established special victims unit within her office, which focuses on sexual assault, domestic battery, stalking, strangulation and violation of protection orders.
The unit puts a focus on getting involved early in the investigation, corroboration of a victim’s account, offender-focused prosecution and communication with the victim throughout the process.
“The benefit of this process is we have law enforcement and prosecution working together so that we’re all communicating with the same voice as we go forward,” she said. “And what we found is we have better investigations. Not that they weren’t (good) in the past, they were very good. It just takes it to a different level.”
Bogard originally faced one count of kidnapping as well, but the jury found him not guilty of that charge.
Trent added the legal definition of kidnapping does not always match what most people think of when they think of kidnapping, so it is easy for juries to be confused.
“When you have a sexual assault, and someone confines you, that’s kidnapping. I think we think of the traditional sense of kidnapping,” she said. “You know, you don’t willingly go somewhere, but when you have a he-said-she-said, it may start out as willingingly and at some point, the actor would say stop and then it’s against your will.”
Bogard, who is out on bond, will be sentenced following a pre-sentence investigation that will likely take 6-8 weeks, Trent said.