Scales of justice

Prosecutors allege a Casper man sexually assaulted two women, one of whom was a minor at the time.

Jeffrey L. Bryden on Tuesday waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Natrona County Circuit Court. He will next appear in Natrona County District Court to be arraigned on felony charges of taking indecent liberties with a minor and incest. Combined, the charges carry a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Bryden is related to one of the two alleged victims in the case.

Prosecutors allege that the offenses took place more than 10 years ago. Both of the women are now adults. One of the women was well under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged assault, and therefore legally unable to consent.

Victims of sexual assault frequently do not report their assailants, according to statistics from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. Victims often fear retaliation or that law enforcement will not effectively help them, among other reasons cited by the network.

The first woman came forward after making an audio recording of a phone conversation with Bryden in which he made statements that the woman interpreted as admissions of sexual abuse, according to court documents.

The two women told investigators that Bryden touched their genitals without their consent.

After the women filed reports with police, one of the women participated in a sting operation overseen by Casper police and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation. Law enforcement listened in on the conversation, and heard Bryden say, in reference to the alleged assault: “I just know I would never do anything to hurt you, but I did,” according to court documents.

When he was interviewed by police, Bryden said he had massaged at least one of the women, but denied having sexual contact with her.

A charge of indecent liberties with a minor is punishable with up to 10 years in prison and an incest charge carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.

Follow crime reporter Shane Sanderson on Twitter @shanersanderson

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Shane Sanderson is a Star-Tribune reporter who primarily covers criminal justice. Sanderson is a proud University of Missouri graduate. Lately, he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy and cooking Italian food. He writes about his own life in his free time.

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