Joseph Ellsworth, Ex-Denver Cop Turned Sex Offender: Attempted Child Sex Assault Bust
Joseph Ellsworth. More photos below.
Earlier today, we told you about the arrest of Mark Beluscak, who's at least the eighth Denver police officer to get into trouble in 2014 alone.
As for Joseph Ellsworth, he's an ex-Denver Cop -- very ex, since he hasn't been on the force since the 1990s. Since then, he's become a registered sex offender -- and now, he's been charged with attempted sexual assault on a child after arranging to meet a fifteen-year-old girl for sex, not realizing she was actually an undercover policewoman. Details below.
Ellsworth's also accused of Internet luring, yet his Facebook page indicates that his online ability is severely limited. After posting the following photo....
...Ellsworth wrote: "I'm a dumb ass cuz I can't figure out how to look up people on Facebook in Colorado springs..can anyone help?"
After that, he managed to share one more image -- this one, featuring the line "Yes I'm a pilot."
Flying appears to be a long-term fantasy for Ellsworth, as witnessed by a 1999 article from the Tulsa World newspaper. The piece documents a child-luring charge that followed his 1996 dismissal from the DPD after more than ten years in uniform, reportedly because he falsified documents. (He also has a perjury conviction under his belt.) And in that case, he's said to have used the screen name "Captain Kirk," alluding to the William Shatner character in the original Star Trek series.
Back then, Ellsworth is said to have spent weeks cyber-chatting with a fictitious Oklahoma teen called "Dana Lynn," during which they discussed wine coolers and Beanie Babies, among other topics. When he arrived for a meet for sex at Tulsa's River Parks in a car sporting Colorado plates, police reports say he had small stuffed animals with him.
In 2000, a court document reveals that Ellsworth pleaded guilty in federal court to interstate travel with intent to engage in sexual activity with a minor and did likewise in Oklahoma state court regarding three additional beefs: distributing obscene material to a minor, attempted lewd molestation and attempted lewd proposals to a child.
Ellsworth's federal sentence was thirty months plus three years supervised release, while the state's punishment called for fifteen years on one count and ten years on the two others. But he was eventually released and wound up in Colorado Springs, where the First Judicial District Attorney's Office maintains that he got up to his old tricks.
Additional details about the most recent incident can be found in a 7News report -- including hints of a persona change. The station quotes an arrest affidavit saying that on August 7, Ellsworth messaged an undercover officer portraying a fifteen-year-old with the question, "Into rich doctors?"
The conversation quickly progressed, with Ellsworth allegedly declaring "I want us to have sex," promising to bring protection and inquiring as to whether the faux-teen was a virgin. Then, after a phone call, they arranged to meet at a fast-food restaurant in Littleton. But when Ellsworth showed up, a pair of handcuffs were waiting. Shortly thereafter, he was formally charged with Internet luring of a child and attempted sexual assault of a child, both felonies.
Size of the bond slapped on him when he was booked into the Jefferson County Detention Center: $100,000.
Here's a larger look at Ellsworth's mug shot.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.
- Reader: Landlords Are Overcharging Marijuana Businesses Because They Can
Thu., Sep. 3, 7:00pm
Fri., Sep. 4, 7:00pm
Sat., Sep. 5, 12:00am
Sat., Sep. 5, 12:30pm
- Remembering the Denver Wax Museum and Nine More Long-Gone Local Landmarks
- Dear Mexican: Was Jimi Hendrix Part Mexican?