Gillette authorities claim that a 22-year-old man sexually abused a 14-year-old girl, so a 30-year-old man responded by kidnapping and beating him.
Both Zackery Minard, 22, and Timothy “TJ” Ott, 30, are facing felony charges in Campbell County District Court.
Minard is charged with second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, while Ott is charged with kidnapping.
Ott is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.
‘He Had A Whole Game Plan’
Minard met a 14-year-old girl prior to his Nov. 30 arrest, according to an evidentiary affidavit filed in his case, adding that he knew she was 14.
He allegedly walked to the girl’s house Nov. 29 to hang out with her while the girl’s mother was working, then had sex with her.
Minard told police it was "consensual." The girl’s mother told Cowboy State Daily on Monday that the sex act was forced.
Forced or not, a 14-year-old cannot legally consent to sex in Wyoming.
Cowboy State Daily is not naming the mother to protect the identity of the alleged teen sex assault victim.
The girl’s mother walked into the room at 8:30 that morning and, finding Minard there without his clothes on, confronted him.
Minard announced they’d had sex, the affidavit says.
Unsure what to do, the woman called Ott, who was helping a friend move into a new home that morning.
Ott and his friend, who is 35, arrived at the house to find Minard still sitting on the living room couch.
“(Minard) had a whole game plan that he was going to move into my house and be with my daughter, and had her also convinced that they were going to get married and they were in love,” the mother recalled.
While the affidavit says Minard had known the girl for weeks, the girl’s mother said they’d actually met three days prior.
There was a scuffle in the house as Ott confronted Minard. The girl vomited, her mother related, adding that the girl is still distressed and having physical issues and bleeding.
Into The Trunk
The mother said she’s not sure just what happened between Ott, the other man and Minard when the three went outside.
“I was inside dealing with a 14-year-old,” she said.
An evidentiary affidavit filed in Ott’s case says Ott asked Minard three times to leave and Minard refused.
Ott grabbed Minard’s ankles and pulled him outside, while Ott’s friend kicked Minard, the affidavit alleges.
They let Minard get to his feet outside and commanded him to get into the trunk of a red 2007 Chevy four-door passenger vehicle, says the affidavit. Minard later told police he wasn’t forced into the trunk, but got in because he was afraid of further beatings.
While in the trunk, Minard saw the glow-in-the-dark emergency pull tab but didn’t pull it because he didn’t know how fast the vehicle was traveling. Hard metal objects underneath him were painful, and it felt like Ott was speeding and slowing abruptly, as if to hurt him, Minard told police.
He also said it crossed his mind that he was being taken somewhere remote to be killed, the affidavit relates from Minard’s interview.
Out Here In The Wind
The trunk popped open at an “unknown location,” says the affidavit. Deputies later pegged it as Timber Creek Road, which winds through a rural dirt swath just south of Highway 51 near Rozet, Wyoming.
Ott allegedly threw punches at Minard and broke his nose.
Minard told police that Ott’s friend didn’t attack him at that time.
Another car approached. One of the men reportedly told Minard to go hide by the railroad track, which he did.
Then the two men left the area, leaving Minard shoeless in 35-degree weather with a Wyoming windchill, the affidavit says.
Campbell County Deputy Eric Coxbill was dispatched to the area at 10:11 that morning when someone called in a welfare check on a man “looking disheveled and not wearing shoes.”
When he arrived, Coxbill figured the disheveled man had been beaten up, so Coxbill called for emergency medical personnel, who then took Minard to Campbell County Health.
Hospital personnel treated Minard for a broken nose and released him.
During These Interviews
Minard allegedly confessed to having sex with the underage girl during his interview with investigators.
In Ott’s police interview, he allegedly confessed to dragging Minard from the girl’s home and taking him out of town in his car trunk and that, “There might have been a couple punches thrown.”
Ott reportedly chose to leave Minard behind “to make him walk back to town and think about what he’d done.”
Ott returned later in the day to find Minard, “because he didn’t want anything worse to happen to him,” Ott told police. But by then, Minard was already at the hospital.
“Ott seemed remorseful during his confession,” the affidavit says. “(It was) an impulsive, hot-headed moment and (he) agreed things had gone too far.”
Life, Not 20
Ott faces between 20 years and life in prison if convicted on the kidnapping charge.
Minard faces up to 20 years in prison on the second-degree sexual abuse charge.
The girl’s mother characterized it as a mismatch for Ott to face a harsher penalty “for defending a child.”
She said she can’t work right now because she’s been staying home with her daughter, who is suffering emotional fallout.
As for Ott’s friend, the other man implicated in the car ride to rural Campbell County, the girl’s mother said police haven’t found him and that she doesn’t know where he is.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.