AURORA | A man accused of attempting to kidnap an 11-year-old Aurora girl walking home from school last October pleaded not guilty to several charges filed against him in Arapahoe County District Court Friday morning.
Tyler Mark Christensen, 33, a registered sex offender, has been charged with a trio of felony charges: attempted sex assault on a child, attempted sexual contact and attempted second-degree kidnapping, according to Michelle Yi, spokeswoman for the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
A four-day jury trial in the case has been scheduled for October.
Christensen is accused of grabbing and covering the mouth of a young girl as she was walking from her bus stop to her home near the corner of East Exposition Avenue and Nome Street around 5:15 p.m. on Oct. 11, 2018, according to police.
The girl was able to flee the area after she screamed and bit the suspect’s ring finger. She then ran home and called 911.
Police linked Christensen to the crime after obtaining surveillance video footage from a homeowner on East Exposition Avenue that showed a man matching Christensen’s description sprinting away from the area around the time the crime occurred.
Christensen was arrested a day later after investigators located him getting off an RTD bus at the Nine Mile Station.
After initially denying interacting with any young girls on Oct. 11, Christensen later told police he hugged a girl on his way home from work, but didn’t touch her inappropriately.
“Honestly I had an urge,” he told police during a polygraph exam, according to an arrest affidavit filed against him.
During an interview with detectives conducted at Aurora police headquarters, Christensen said he had been charged with a sexual offense for fondling a woman sometime in the past. After that incident, he consulted with a therapist to discuss his sexual urges.
Christensen has an extensive criminal history in multiple cities across the state, according to records retrieved from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. He has been charged with more than two dozen crimes, mostly around Denver and Grand Junction, since 2005, including burglary, misdemeanor assault and felony sexual assault, according to CBI records.
His sex offender registry stemmed from a 2012 conviction for sex assault, according to state records.
Prosecutors have also levied a sentence enhancer charge against Christensen for being a habitual criminal, according to Yi. That would only be enforced if he were to be convicted.
Christensen’s last registered address before he was booked into jail was a home on South Oakland Street near Expo Park, according to the CBI’s sex offender registry. That’s less than a block from where investigators believe he tried to kidnap the young Aurora girl.
In the arrest affidavit, the officer who first contacted Christensen after het got off the RTD bus on Oct. 12 noted “he appeared to possibly be mentally disabled.”
Christensen later told police he is autistic. Police confirmed with Christensen’s employer he has “an intellectual disability,” according to the arrest document.
Christensen was convicted of felony sexual assault and sentenced to prison following the disposition of a case in Grand Junction in 2008, according to CBI records. In the ensuing years, he was charged with a litany of parole violations in Mesa and Fremont Counties.
The Grand Junction Police Department declined to release the incident report related to Christensen’s 2007 arrest in that city, citing a state law that prohibits the release of “reports of the mistreatment or self-neglect of an at-risk adult,” according to state code.
In December 2012, Christensen was again charged with felony sexual assault in Denver.
The Denver Police Department records unit denied a request to obtain the report detailing Christensen’s arrest in that city seven years ago.
“This type of police report has been determined to be highly sensitive in nature and/or requires legal review before release,” a representative from the records unit wrote in an email.
The records official wrote that the report must be requested through a different unit within the police department. That unit typically takes about two months to process requests.
Christensen has been detained at the Arapahoe County Detention Center for the past eight months in lieu of posting a $150,000 cash or surety bond, according to county records.
He’s scheduled to next appear in court for the beginning of his jury trial at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 28.