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Out of Bounds

mark andresen

Justin Jahn and Christina Clinkscales met in July 2005 at the Village at Breckenridge. He was a 26-year-old bellman, and she was an eighteen-year-old guest from Missouri who'd tagged along with her mom on a business trip. When Christina locked herself out of the mountain-base hotel on the first day of their stay, she sought out Justin to let her back in. He thought she was flirting with him, especially after she asked him to stop by her room to say hello, which he did the following morning.

On the second evening, Christina's mother went to bed early, and Christina and her younger sister, then twelve, went down to the hotel arcade, which was closed. But they ran into Justin, who said he could open it up for the two girls.

Later that night, when Justin got a call over the bellman's radio to pick up a couple of intoxicated guests with the hotel shuttle, he invited Christina along for the ride. The two made plans to hang out after Justin got off work, and she waited for him in the bell staff's office. Her sister went back to the room.

After Justin clocked out, sometime around midnight, he and Christina went upstairs to an empty room where he planned to sleep, according to both Justin and Christina. Justin brought along a four-pack of Jack Daniel's fruity drink coolers — a tip that a hotel guest had left earlier in the day.

From this point, there's little agreement even in Justin and Christina's own stories. The way Justin tells it, Christina grabbed one of the bottles, took off the top and took a swig. She seemed to have already been drinking, so he poured the rest into a plastic cup for her.

Justin says that they had sex and that he offered her some marijuana, but she declined, so he didn't light up. They were having sex a second time, he says, when both his cell phone and the room phone started ringing. And ringing. Justin finally answered his cell. It was a co-worker from the front desk, who said that Christina's mother was looking for her. Justin told the co-worker that he wasn't with her because Christina indicated that she wanted to stay longer, he says. When he hung up, Christina told him that her mother was "a wicked bitch," but that she would handle it after she got back to her room. But the front desk called again, because Christina's mother, Michelle Schweitzer, was raising holy hell. So Christina went downstairs to meet with her while Justin cleaned up the room and left to go out with some friends.

The following night, Schweitzer called the police, who interviewed Christina several times over the next few days. In her first report, Christina said she felt very drunk with Justin and that he offered her weed and ecstasy, but that he made no sexual advances. In the second interview, she repeated that they only drank and watched TV and that Justin made no sexual advances toward her.

Schweitzer called the cops yet again, however, saying Christina had told her that she didn't remember the evening and that she might have been sexually assaulted.

When Justin showed up for his next shift at the Village, his boss suspended him, and the police, who were waiting for him, asked about Christina. Justin lied and told them nothing had happened. When he returned to the hotel a few days later, he was fired, according to court documents, and the police interviewed him again. Once again, he lied about having sex with Christina — worried, he says, that perhaps she was underage.

At that point, Justin began calling lawyers. One of them told him his biggest mistake had been lying to the police about the sex and pointed out that the police would be able to figure out the truth if Christina had submitted to a medical exam.

So Justin called the cops and told the truth. A month later, he was arrested and charged with sexual assault and providing alcohol to a minor. (Christina was of legal age for sex, but not for drinking.) If convicted, he would be labeled as a sex offender and could face life in prison.

Justin has denied doing anything wrong in court and to Westword, and says the past 28 months have been the worst of his life. "It's not fear; it's worse than terror. It's hard to even describe," he says. "I have not been the same person. I have not been happy."

Christina's attorneys, Mike Drew and Karen Steinhauser, have declined to comment and refused Westword's request for an interview with their client.

Justin's trial began in July 2006 in a Summit County courtroom, where Christina claimed on the stand that things seemed to be moving in slow motion after Justin gave her the drink and that she became too woozy to ward off his sexual advances. She said that was her last memory before speaking to her mother on the phone. When she woke up late the next morning, she noticed some blood and thought that she had her period.

Although she declined a rape examination, Christina did provide a urine sample so that prosecutors could look for evidence of date-rape drugs. The sample came back negative on that level, but small traces of Valium were detected. Christina had recently gotten a prescription for the drug from a dentist, according to evidence offered at the trial, but the prosecution tried to make the case that Justin had slipped it into her drink.

Justin told the courtroom that he and Christina had kissed passionately and taken each other's clothes off. He admitted lying to the police, but he said he didn't put anything in Christina's drink and insisted that she'd been just as into the sex as he was.

It took the jury less than two hours to find him not guilty of sexual assault, though he was convicted of providing alcohol to a minor, a misdemeanor for which he served a month in jail.

Dale McPhetres, the public defender who represented Justin, says he believes Christina and her mother had another motive for pressing charges. "It was my opinion early on that the purpose of this criminal case was just to obtain money in a civil suit," he says.

And in August 2006, while he was still in jail, Justin received notice that he was being sued for the alleged assault. Vail Resorts Inc., which owns Breckenridge, was also sued.

The company settled immediately, paying Christina $20,000 and her mother $10,000, according to civil court records. Justin eventually found a civil attorney, Todd Calvert, and has now filed a countersuit against Christina alleging malicious prosecution, emotional distress, slander and civil conspiracy, among other things.

The civil trial was scheduled to begin November 28.

"All that the criminal case proved is that I'm not guilty. It doesn't prove that she lied, that she slandered me, that she defamed my character," Justin says. "The criminal trial didn't make her have any accountability at all, and she hasn't been held responsible for any of her actions."


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