By: david noack
A Denver Post reporter was arrested in January and charged with having sex with a child.
The Post says it didn’t learn of the incident until June. It finally reported on it last week.
A Denver Post business reporter stayed on the job for seven months after he was charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl he met in a chat room on America Online.
Dennis Algeo, 42, in a plea bargain last week with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, pleaded guilty to one felony count of sexual assault on a child. He faces two to eight years in prison, plus fines of up to $500,000, at sentencing scheduled for September.
Members of the girl’s family said they were disappointed in the plea deal and wanted the case to go to trial.
Editor in chief Dennis A. Britton said Algeo was on paid leave pending further action.
Police said the girl portrayed herself online as 15 years old
and gave the user name “15female.”
Algeo first told her he was 24, then 34. After a series of online conversations, e-mails and phone calls, the two met at Westminster Mall near Denver last Dec. 30. She told her parents she was going to see the movie Titanic, a police affidavit said. After they met, Algeo took her back to his house, where they began “hugging, kissing and had sexual intercourse.”
The girl told police that during the encounter, Algeo’s wife called and was identified by a caller ID box. After Algeo called his wife back, the pair took a shower together. Then they had dinner at a Taco Bell restaurant before he dropped her home around 9 p.m.
However, the girl’s parents were suspicious. Earlier on Dec. 30, her stepfather intercepted an e-mail about the mall rendezvous ? and discovered Titanic wasn’t playing there that night. Posing as his stepdaughter, he contacted Algeo online to gather more information.
The Arvada, Colo., police charged Algeo in January with enticing a 14-year-old into sex. The Post said it didn’t learn about those charges until June. The newspaper didn’t publish anything about the incident until July 21, the day after Algeo’s plea. That two-paragraph, 82-word report appeared at the bottom of an inside page in the B section.
A law enforcement official groused that a cop charged with a similar crime would have found the story plastered across the front page of the newspaper.
The story was reported June 25 by Rick Salinger, an investigative reporter for CBS affiliate KCNC, and by the alternative weekly Westword in its July 16-22 edition.
Britton said when Post executives found out about the charges in mid-June, they confronted Algeo and he gave his account. Nevertheless, the newspaper allowed Algeo to continue reporting.
“He was, as it turns out, extremely forthcoming,” said Britton. “But they had started their negotiations with the prosecution for the plea bargain, so we agreed to let it go to see how it would work out, reduced his assignments as best we could and believed in the American principle, the law principle that you’re innocent until proven guilty.”
Algeo, who covers health care and biotechnology, joined the Post in October 1995. He previously covered business for the Wichita (Kan.) Eagle and Duluth (Minn.) News-Tribune.
At his July 20 arraignment in Jefferson County, Algeo attended with his attorney and a priest. Following his guilty plea, they left the courthouse without comment, according to a report in Denver’s Rocky Mountain News.
?(Dennis Algeo kept reporting until he pled guilty to a sex crime and was put on paid leave.) [Photo & Caption]
?(Editor & Publisher Web Site: http://www.mediainfo. com) [Caption]
?(copyright: Editor & Publisher July 25,1998) [Caption]
DATE: Sat 08-Aug-1998
PUBLICATION: Editor & Publisher
SUBJECT: Denver Post Reporter
LOCATION: Page 3
correction denver post david algeo
ASTORY ABOUT Denver Post reporter David Algeo (July 25, p.13) incorrectly identified him as Dennis Algeo and David Algeo. His
correct name is David.
?( Editor & Publisher Web Site: http:www.mediainfo. com) [Caption]
?(copyright: Editor & Publisher August 8, 1998) [Caption]