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Felony Charges Dropped for Graspin’ Aspen Yoga Teacher, Misdemeanors Spell Sex Offender

in Ethics, YD News, Yoga Crime

gotojail_aumthumbFor those following the Graspin’ Aspen case, Steven Roger, the CO yoga teacher accused of sexual assault, faced the judge this past for a preliminary hearing of lawyerly evidencey stuff presented for deliberation.

The Charges:

Two felony counts of sexual assault and related misdemeanors stemming from alleged incidents within the past few years.

The incidents involved different women, with each of the alleged offenses taking place at O2 Aspen, a court filing says.

Though the alleged female victims claim Roger “slipped his hand” under their clothing, his defense attorney, in his most lawyery voice (probably), pushed hard for the felony charges to be dropped arguing that “touching’ is not “sexual intrusion”. allrighty.

Well he must’ve been pretty convincing because this morning comes news that presiding Judge Ruland decided to go with the touchy argument and dismissed the felony charges – meaning Roger will not have to stand trial. Phew! No more scare of 10 years in the slammer!

However, still stinging are the five six misdemeanor counts of unlawful sexual contact from alleged incidents occurring between 2005 and 2008, each with the potential for handing Mr. Roger a healthy bowl of do-your-time-asana (24 months per count). Though we’re dubious he’ll get much in the way of jail time, if he’s convicted on any counts he must register as a sex offender. And THAT…will basically ruin his yoga career forever anyway. It may sound odd, but at this point it’s sad if he’s not the gropemaster cause good luck getting work with business cards that read “Steven Roger, Yoga Instructor, Sex Offender.” bummer.

[Aspen Times]

Earlier…UPDATE: Graspin’ Aspen Yoga Teacher Scandal, Charges Upgraded: 2 Felony Counts!

More…Grief and Relief: Yoga Scandal in Seattle

14 comments… add one
  • Travis

    This is a man CHARGED by the state with crimes.
    And the author wishes the man is convicted and loses his livelyhood.
    The man what evidence does the author have of this mans guilt and shouldn’t the court subpoena the author to testify as to what he knows in this case?
    This attitude exhibited by this author is why American’s cannot ever hope to get a fair trial.
    I’ll be kind of surprised if this comment is posted.

  • Travis

    ok, I’ll be surprised if it stays posted.

  • Donna

    My husband had serious back problems and saw Steve Roger (prior to the charges) for pilattes, his new body is remarkable! He has no problems anymore. Thank goodness Steve taught him how to do the right moves without seeing him all the time. Steve is an asset to the world, there were many people who stood up for Steve here in Aspen, but they weren’t heard.
    When instructing pilattes a good instructor should check to see if the client is using the right muscles, thus the touching (I am guessing–IF there was any!!!). These girls (in my opinion) were looking for a bunch of money, opportunists, they have left town since the charges. Thank goodness, but some people come here (“lots of money here, why can’t I get me some?”…mentality) just to find an opportunity to take someone.
    We shouldn’t judge someone when we don’t know the facts, all this internet junk has ruined Steve’s professional life, and it’s my husband that will pay the biggest price– in losing him, as Steve left town.

  • Donna

    BTW, these alledged incidents took place during a class, many other girls were present…..

  • Sara G.

    I, too, am a huge Steve fan. Both my husband and I took classes from him and would encounter him socially at parties. We cannot possibly envision that these charges are true…

  • AJ

    lame article, yoga dork. he didn’t do it. enjoy that divisive karma.

  • admin

    hey commenters.. thanks for chiming in. for the record, the part about hoping he’s guilty is sarcasm. of course we don’t want his career ruined, but basically, it pretty much already was by the accusers. that’s what we’re pointing out here. just thought we’d clear that up.
    ps. not sure how this is “judging” someone by stating the facts found from the news source. if he’s innocent, more power to him, and all his students. amen.

  • Donna

    There’s no way he is guilty. He is married, and it’s one of those marriages where you never see one without the other, they ride bikes together, go shopping together, she even works at the same place and teaches yoga too. They are inseparable, a beautiful couple.

    This web site gives more exposure to a horid circumstance. His career will not be ruined, when people meet him they’ll know he was never guilty. The accusers are scum, it’s terrible that people can do this to each other…for money.

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  • Mark

    Wow. So it’s okay that this man violates women as long as some people are getting nice bodies in the process? What if you’re wrong? What if he’s guilty and he’s been hiding this habit for years under the guise of his marriage and pleasant public demeanor for years and you’re the one who’s been fooled?

    I think it’s also dangerous to just assume someone is innocent or the women are just opportunists out for money. Where do you get such facts? Do you know these women? Many women suffer from sexual abuse. We’re currently dealing with several women in our local community that have been raped by a yoga teacher. Many people think the man is innocent because of his public image and demeanor.

    We put people on a pedestal because they’re a yoga teacher or we’ve had some positive interactions with them; doesn’t mean they don’t have issues and does not necessarily mean that they haven’t done horrible things.
    Some one can be an amazing yoga teacher and also be a criminal and rapist. Ya crazy right? As much as we may might think it’s contradictory and upsetting it happens. I think it’s important to provide support to women who are violated because it happens a lot and it takes a hell of a lot of courage to come forward. Most women never come forward and report being violated because the falsely believe they’re responsible or they fear being judged or antagonized. As a result sexual violation of women continue and people who are guilty are not held accountable and continue to victimize women.

    I’m sorry that this is happening in your community. It sucks. Yoga teachers are a source of inspiration and well being in many communities. To lose someone to such circumstances as this is unfortunate. But if he is guilty and he continues to teach and victimize women that’s also unacceptable. He soils the name of yoga, the title of yoga teacher, and traumatizes women out of a very sacred and deep practice. Who knows if some of these women will ever feel safe enough to come back to yoga again?

    Yoga Dork great job for covering such a touchy subject. I think as a yoga community we all need to constantly reflect on the issues of appropriate touch and student/teacher relationships. Yoga is not just about stretching or getting a nice body. Many women come to yoga to heal their mind/bodies or to look for spiritual guidance and to violate that sacred space out of selfishness or unconsciousness is unacceptable. This is a way larger issue than someone’s nice body.

  • I was one of the four women who was touched by Steve. I don’t want any money and I did leave town a week later. He knew I was leaving the country a week later and had been my teacher since he started at O2 (a few months). I am a yoga teacher and I know “adjusting” and “feeling someone up”. He was feeling me up. If that happens to you (god forbid it does) see if you speak up, or (as I did) freeze, while each time thinking you are going crazy to think that this is actually happening. Steve was an awesome, talented teacher, I knew his wife, and she also was an amazing teacher / woman. What a waste, because Steve is a pervert with a big secret. He feels women up (and rubs himself up against them) in class, if he knows she’ll be leaving town.

  • I can see where sex comes into play in regards to yoga. PPl get into great shape release all kinds of enegy and generally look really good.
    How ever yoga also implies self discipline, a high level of spirituality etc.
    I hope if this guy isn’t guilty he is exonerated.

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