AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A registered sex offender is running for city council in Aurora.
Abel Laeke, 39, is vying for one of two open at-large seats.
A charge from 2004 landed Laeke on the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s sex offender registry.
Laeke told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia on Saturday by phone that he could not comment on his criminal record due to pending litigation.
Court documents show that Laeke has been fighting to appeal the sex charge for years.
On Nov. 7, 2017, Aurora residents will elect two new city council members.
Laeke is on the city’s approved list of 8 candidates.
As a first generation Ethiopian American, Laeke grew up in Aurora and graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder. He runs his own start-up business consulting firm, serves as a non-profit organization mentor and teaches Sunday school at his Aurora church.
The CBI website shows a 2005 conviction of a sexual contact charge, a class 5 felony.
A background check reveals that Laeke pleaded “not guilty by reason of insanity.”
Mike Hyman, Attorney for the City of Aurora told the Aurora Sentinel that since Laeke’s plea was accepted and is not a conviction, he is in the clear to run for council.
“That’s very concerning,” said Susan Speers, a lifelong Aurora resident. “Usually, if you do stuff like that, you tend to go back and do it again.”
Speers was not the only Aurora resident who said she would have a hard time overlooking the charge.
“I wouldn’t overlook it,” said Andrew Anema, who has lived in Aurora for about six months. “(But) I’ve done a lot of things I regret in my life, and I know that I can be forgiven of those things and be given a second chance by God,” Anema said.
While Laeke did not comment on the details surrounding the charge, he said that the memoire he wrote entitled “No Pressure, No Diamonds” offers insight into his past.
Its preview on Amazon.com reads: “I was lured by the bad behavior of those I considered friends, alarming my family and derailing my life. Add the trauma of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, and my life hurtled toward the dark halls of a psychiatric institution. Like a phoenix, I was able to reclaim my life and turn my hard-won lessons into a passion for service to humanity.”
Attempts to contact Aurora’s city attorney, mayor and council members for comment were not immediately answered.