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Update: Cop Michael Ryan cited in apparent prostitute blowjob incident, delay explained

Michael Ryan.
Michael Ryan.

Update: Yesterday morning, we wrote about the decision not to immediately cite Denver Police Department Detective Michael Ryan after Lakewood police officers found him in a compromising position with a prostitute; see our previous coverage below. Toward day's end, Ryan did indeed receive a summons for the incident. Why the delay? Lakewood Police Department spokesman Steve Davis believes that "the complexity of what was going on was probably the biggest reason."

On April 10, as we've reported, Ryan and a 49-year-old woman described as a known prostitute were found together in a car parked near the intersection of West Colfax and Ingalls. A source told CBS4 that Ryan, a seventeen-year-veteran of the DPD whose duties included the investigation of prostitution cases, had his belt and pants unbuckled, while the woman was bent over the car's center console.

Initially, Davis says, there were questions about whether Ryan "may have been functioning in an official capacity. But he was, in fact, off duty, so that was cleared up very quickly."

A screen capture of Lakewood police spokesman Steve Davis.
A screen capture of Lakewood police spokesman Steve Davis.

Nonetheless, neither Ryan nor the woman immediately received a summons for their actions, prompting assertions that the detective was the beneficiary of favoritism. But Davis says many other factors were actually at play.

"Our people indicated in their reports that once Michael Ryan was released, it was only pending charges," he notes. "They wanted to talk to our special-investigations unit, and they also knew the case was going to involve two law-enforcement agencies. I think they had every intention of speaking to superior officers in our department as well as the Denver Police Department as to how this was going to shake out. There were some unusual circumstances about the whole contact, so I think they were being very cautious about how they did it."

Davis adds that "a summons can be issued up to eighteen months later in a misdemeanor, so they knew they had plenty of time to do it right and make sure both departments had everything in order before charges were brought against him... They knew it was a case that was going to garner a lot of attention, so they wanted to make sure their ducks were in a row."

The woman in the case hasn't been cited, suggesting that she will be available to testify against Ryan.

In the meantime, Davis acknowledges that "for a couple of days, we've been hearing this notion from a lot of people that Michael Ryan got preferential treatment because of who he was. I would counter that with this:

"Let's pick any profession -- a plumber of a newspaper reporter. Let's say they get a summons one night for patronizing a prostitute. That person probably can go to court and pay a fine, and his family, his friends and certainly his employer will most likely never know anything about it -- they'll never know he was charged with patronizing a prostitute after that person pays a fine. But Michael Ryan waits two days to get his summons, and during that two days, his picture is put all over town, and his family, his friends and his employer are now very well aware that he's been charged with patronizing a prostitute. And his assignment, his job, is in jeopardy.

"Don't get me wrong," Davis goes on. "I'm not defending him. There's no room for people who do things like that in our profession. But to call that preferential treatment.... Well, I certainly would never want that kind of preferential treatment. Give me the summons and I'll go home. So the assertion that this was preferential treatment may need a second thought."

Continue to read our previous coverage about Detective Michael Ryan.

Original post, 10:50 a.m. April 16: Last week, Denver Police Department Detective Michael Ryan, fifty, was reportedly parked in a dark spot with his belt unbuckled and a prostitute in close proximity to his happy place when officers from the Lakewood Police Department interrupted the festivities. Yet neither Ryan nor the woman received a citation, even though such a summons would have been standard procedure. Why not? A Lakewood police spokesman can't go into detail at this point. But he makes it clear that Ryan shouldn't be sighing with relief just yet.

On April 10, according to an LPD release, members of the department's special-enforcement team spotted a 49-year-old woman "known to engage in prostitution" climb into a vehicle in the area of West Colfax Avenue and Ingalls Street.

Here's a look at the location via a Google Maps image. As you can see, Ingalls Street may connect to Colfax, but it still offers a relatively secluded location.

The intersection of West Colfax and Ingalls Street in Lakewood.
The intersection of West Colfax and Ingalls Street in Lakewood.

Shortly thereafter, officers contacted the occupants of the car, with the driver subsequently ID'd as an "off-duty" Denver police officer. He's not named in the release, and Lakewood Police Department spokesman Steve Davis still declines to confirm his identity, since he hasn't been charged with anything to date. But CBS4 reports that Ryan, a seventeen-year-old DPD veteran, is the person at the center of the story.

Among Ryan's duties: investigating prostitution. Which he may have done with a bit too much zeal.

As for what was going on at the time officers arrived, reporter Brian Maass quotes a source as saying "the woman was bent over the center console of the car and Ryan's belt and pants were unbuckled." However, spokesman Davis says that from the reports he's read, it doesn't appear that officers saw them engaging in "any kind of act."

The car was initially described as being Ryan's personal ride. But CBS4 has confirmed that it was actually an unmarked law-enforcement vehicle.

Nonetheless, Ryan and the woman were released a short time later, and the LPD's Davis admits that's unusual.

"Most people would probably get a summons," he acknowledges. "It's very rare that somebody would be taken into custody and jailed on a misdemeanor soliciting or prostitution charge, unless there was a warrant for their arrest on something else. But they would probably receive a summons or a citation."

Nonetheless, Davis rejects the notion that Ryan was the beneficiary of favoritism.

"To those we think he got some kind of preferential treatment by not getting a summons, I guess I would say, 'Stay tuned,' because we are far from finished with this case," he emphasizes.

Likewise, he rejects the suggestion that anyone tried burying the incident. "After we dealt with him, the agents from our department immediately contacted their sergeant, and that sergeant immediately notified the watch commander that night -- and the Denver Police Department was notified early the next day. So there certainly wasn't a cover-up. If there had been, they wouldn't have notified all those people, but they did."

Davis adds that depending on the circumstances, a prostitute in a similar situation might be cited and the john would be cut loose, since individuals in this circumstance can't be compelled to testify against each other. But the woman with Ryan didn't get a summons, either -- maybe to make sure she remained eligible to testify against the detective, Davis speculates.

At this point, Davis doesn't have an estimate about when the LPD's investigation will conclude, "but I would say very soon. I anticipate our involvement being finished very, very soon."

Ryan, for his part, appears not to have finished at all.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Mug Shots archive circa May 2012: "Photos: Johns photos from Denver cops' reverse prostitution stings."


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