District court

The trial of Christopher Tarpey for sexual assault has sparked conversations among survivors about dealing with sexual crimes in Jackson.

Christopher Tarpey has been sentenced to a minimum of 10 years for his conviction of first-degree sexual assault.

Tarpey was found guilty of felony rape in the Ninth Judicial District Court of Teton County on June 7 following a jury trial. His sentencing was signed Sept. 13 by District Court Judge Timothy Day.

The sentence states Tarpey must spend 10 to 15 years in a state prison designated by the Department of Corrections. Tarpey will be moved from the Teton County Jail — where he has been incarcerated since June 7 — by the Teton County sheriff.

Day also recommended that Tarpey, a Jackson resident and former bartender, participate in therapeutic programs for domestic violence, sexual offenders, substance abuse and mental health counseling during his incarceration. He is ordered to pay the victim $270 in restitution.

The 24-year-old victim, who requested the News&Guide not publish her name, was also a Jackson resident at the time of the assault. Because Tarpey pled not guilty, she testified in court, describing the July 23, 2020, rape, which happened two months after she moved to town.

She could not be reached for comment by press time Tuesday.

Erin Weisman, Teton County and Prosecuting Attorney, prosecuted the sexual assault case on behalf of the state and said she hoped the verdict sent a message of hope to survivors.

“I hope [this conviction] sends a message to victims and the community that you can speak up, and people will hear you and you will be believed,” she told the News&Guide in June.

Christopher Tarpey

Tarpey

Tarpey was represented during the trial by attorney Richard Mulligan. Following the guilty verdict, Mulligan told the News&Guide he found the verdict disappointing but declined to comment further. He also could not be reached by phone Tuesday.

In the months following, Mulligan challenged a few of the findings in the court’s presentence investigation report. Those disputes were either resolved or dismissed by Judge Day.

According to court documents, Day considered placing Tarpey on supervised probation but decided “supervised probation would unduly depreciate the seriousness of the offense and is therefore inappropriate.”

Tarpey qualifies as an “addicted offender,” the documents state, and as such is recommended for “Level 2.1 intensive outpatient treatment,” pursuant to the Addicted Offender’s Accountability Act.

Tarpey must also register as a sex offender and he may be barred from owning firearms. He was given the option to appeal the sentencing and his conviction, but declined to do so.

Contact Evan Robinson-Johnson at 732-5901 or ERJ@jhnewsandguide.com.

Evan Robinson-Johnson covers issues residents face on a daily basis, from smoky skies to housing insecurity. Originally from New England, he has settled in east Jackson and avoids crowds by rollerblading through the alleyways.

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