Abel Laeke, 39, is a registered sex offender, and he is seeking a seat on the city council in Aurora, Colorado.
On Nov. 7, 2017, Aurora residents will elect two new city council members, and Laeke is on the city’s approved list of eight candidates. Therefore, he could be one of those elected officials, despite a criminal past.
A charge from 2004 landed Laeke on the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s sex offender registry, and court documents show that Laeke has been fighting to appeal the sex charge for years.
The CBI website shows a 2005 conviction for a sexual contact charge, which is a Class 5 felony. A further background check reveals that Laeke pleaded “not guilty by reason of insanity.”
CBS4’s Melissa Garcia on Saturday reached out to Laeke by phone, but he claimed that he could not comment on his criminal record due to pending litigation.
As a first generation Ethiopian American, Laeke has lived his life in Aurora and graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder. He operates his own start-up business consulting firm, serves as a non-profit organization mentor, and even teaches Sunday school at an Aurora church.
Mike Hyman, an attorney for the city of Aurora, told the Aurora Sentinel that since Laeke’s plea was accepted and is not a conviction, he is legally allowed to seek a council seat.
“That’s very concerning,” said Aurora resident Susan Speers. “Usually, if you do stuff like that, you tend to go back and do it again.”
“I wouldn’t overlook it,” said Andrew Anema, who has lived in Aurora for about six months and is in agreement with Speers. “(But) I’ve done a lot of things I regret in my life, and I know that I can be forgiven of those things and be given a second chance by God.”
While Laeke hasn’t commented on details surrounding the charge, he said the memoir he wrote, “No Pressure, No Diamonds,” offers insight into his past. A preview of his book reads:
“I was lured by the bad behavior of those I considered friends, alarming my family and derailing my life. Add the trauma of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, and my life hurtled toward the dark halls of a psychiatric institution. Like a phoenix, I was able to reclaim my life and turn my hard-won lessons into a passion for service to humanity.”
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