Twenty-two-year-old Skile Ames pleaded guilty to third-degree sexual assault this week for a September incident in Laramie when he and the victim were both University of Wyoming students.
A third-degree sexual assault charge carries a maximum possible penalty of 15 years in prison.
A plea deal agreed to by the Albany County Attorney’s Office and Ames’s attorneys means that prosecutors will argue for Ames to be sentenced to no more than six months in the county jail followed by supervised probation.
However, Albany County district court Judge Tori Kricken warned the man that she could reject the plea deal and sentence him to a prison term — though she didn’t state she will make such a rejection of the plea deal.
Regardless, Ames will still need to register as a sexual offender.
Ames was originally charged with first-degree sexual assault, which could have carried a prison term of up to 50 years.
The defendant was originally investigated after he was “seen carrying a female subject into Orr Hall,” one of the University of Wyoming’s dormitories, in late September 2018.
That prompted UW police to perform a welfare check on the young woman, and they “determined that Ames and the female subject had sexual intercourse earlier that night,” according to a police affidavit.
When police went to Ames’s dorm room, they saw that the woman was “extremely intoxicated and was wearing a button-up shirt with just the top few buttons actually buttoned.”
“In addition, officers observed that the victim’s hair was disheveled and she had dirt or twigs in her hair,” an affidavit of probable cause states.
When police questioned both Ames and the victim, both told similar stories.
Ames told police they had parked at Gateway Fuels in West Laramie and then “walked along Highway 230 until they came to a dirt road.”
The pair then drank Apple Crown Royal in a field and Ames claimed the pair had “consensual intercourse.”
However, the victim told police that she “did not recall having sexual intercourse with Ames and said that had sexual intercourse happened, she would not have consented to doing so.”
After the incident, Ames and the victim went back to Gateway Fuels, where Ames “attempted to assist the victim out of the vehicle, however, she was unable to stand on her own and fell to her knees just outside the vehicle,” according to a police review of the convenience store’s security footage.
“Ames tried to help the victim stand up, however she fell to her knees again,” the affidavit states. Ames then carried her to his friend’s vehicle. When the friend was interview by police, he described the victim as “‘a sack of potatoes’ because anytime he tried talking to the victim, she was unresponsive.”
When the victim was later interviewed by police, she said she remembered only “pieces” of the night but did not remember having consensual sex.
Ames later told police that the “victim did vomit while he was performing oral sex on her and agreed with the affiant that she was probably incoherent prior to vomiting.”
Ames’s attorney, David Lindsey, unsuccessfully tried getting Kricken to prevent those incriminating statements from being used at trial.
Lindsey had argued Ames’s initial statements to police immediately after the assault came only as the result of “coercive police tactics.” Lindsey had argued police should have been required to read Ames his Miranda rights because the initial interactions with police constituted him being in police custody.
After a hearing, Kricken rejected those arguments.
“Viewing these fact as a reasonable person in Mr. Ames’s position would have understood the situation, this court concludes that a reasonable person would have understand that he was not in custody and would have felt at liberty to terminate the interview,” she wrote in her ruling.