El Paso County Crime

Man sentenced for sexual assault after taking in family during Waldo Canyon Fire

Victim was 14 at time; family was homeless

Victim's mother speaks about sexual assault

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - An El Paso County judge sentenced a local man Tuesday after a jury convicted him of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl. Kyle Coppedge took in the teen's family after it was left homeless following the Waldo Canyon Fire. 

Coppedge was found guilty on three counts of sexual assault on a minor and will spend 13 years to life in prison. 

KRDO NewsChannel 13 spoke exclusively with the teen's mother, Tresa Morris. Morris told us that Coppedge was an acquaintance of her boyfriend, who was in Boston at the time of the incident.

Morris said she and her daughters had recently moved from Florida and were staying with a friend when his home burned in the fire.  Coppedge was renting a room in a motel on West Colorado Avenue and offered to let the family stay there.

Morris didn't want her 14-year-old and 8-year-old living out of the family car, so she accepted. 

"When we were at a homeless shelter earlier, a man approached my daughter in a way I was uncomfortable with," she said.  "So I didn't want to stay there."

Morris said that within the first week of staying with him, Coppedge started acting strangely, stating that they couldn't leave the room without him present. 

"It was like we were trapped," she said.  "He was actually a little threatening.  I didn't call the cops at that point because I didn't know anything was going on.  I just thought he was kind of crazy."

The family's stay lasted a total of three weeks, at which time Morris' boyfriend showed up and demanded that Coppedge let the family leave. 

During those three weeks, Morris said, Coppedge would take her teen daughter into the bathroom while everyone was asleep and force her to have sex with him. He apparently threatened to put them out on the street if she told or didn't do what he wanted. 

Morris said her daughter kept quiet about the assaults for two years.

"Coppedge's wife came to my house because they were having a domestic dispute," she said.  "She told me he (confessed) to (the assaults) when he tried to get her to have sex with him and a 13-year-old girl.  That's when I called police."

According to Morris, Coppedge and his wife visited the teen's school and her home to try and talk to her. This was after the family had left the hotel and found another place to live. 

"The damage he did to my daughter is so extensive that she dropped out of school, doesn't go anywhere, doesn't have any friends. She's a complete recluse because of what he did," said Morris. 

When asked if she's satisfied with Coppedge's sentence, Morris thought and sighed heavily before answering.

"He doesn't feel any remorse," she said.  "His denial makes me think he has a mental health issue.  I'm not comfortable with him being released to society at any point in time."

At the sentencing hearing, the judge heard emotional testimony from Morris, her daughter and Coppedge's family.

"I hope you won't let what this man did, define your lives," the judge said.  "It's my hope that you'll find some way to get past this."

Coppedge did not speak during the hearing, on the advice of his attorney, because of a possible appeal of his conviction.

Coppedge also must complete a sex offender treatment program.

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