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Durango man faces up to six years in prison for alleged 2017 sex assault

James Zink, 21, pleaded guilty to felony menacing

A 21-year-old Durango man accused of sexual assault involving a shotgun pleaded guilty Friday to felony menacing, a Class 5 felony, and now faces up to six years in the Department of Corrections.


James Thomas Zink was accused of sexually assaulting a Fort Lewis College student in October 2017 in a reported gang rape with two other men, Devin Bond and Anthony Fitts.

Zink pleaded guilty in 2018 to second-degree assault, a Class 4 felony, and two counts of attempted sexual assault, a Class 5 felony, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by 10 years of probation.

Bond, however, went to trial in May 2019 where the alleged victim testified that at least some of the sexual acts on the night of the assault were consensual.

Bond’s trial ultimately resulted in a mistrial after a 12-person jury could not unanimously decide on a verdict. A few months later, prosecutors dismissed charges against Bond, who had spent 19 months in jail.

Fitts, who had pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and two counts of sexual assault, had spent eight months in prison when the new information came to light. Charges against him, too, were dismissed and he was released.

Zink’s defense attorneys moved to renegotiate the plea agreement and charges against him. Investigators say Zink racked a shotgun to intimidate the alleged victim into sexual contact.

Zink pleaded guilty Friday to felony menacing, which carried a component where he admitted to using the shotgun to place another person in fear of imminent bodily injury.

As a result, Zink faces up to six years in prison, two years of probation and a fine up to $100,000. He will also have to register as a sex offender. Zink will be formally sentenced Jan. 22.