Wyoming news briefs for March 24

Man sent to prison for child sex abuse

CHEYENNE — A man convicted sexually assaulting a 3-year-old girl will spend the next 14 to 17 years in prison after his probation was revoked Monday in Laramie County District Court.

Tracy Lee Reighard received a sentence of 20 years supervised probation in September 2017 after pleading no contest to the charge. Laramie County District Judge Thomas Campbell, who originally sentenced Reighard in the case, revoked his probation and imposed the underlying prison sentence.

Reighard violated the terms of his probation when he was convicted in August of mail fraud in federal court, Campbell said. He admitted Monday to violating his probation after initially denying the allegations at a previous hearing.

In April 2016, a relative reported to Cheyenne Police that he walked in on Reighard putting his genitals near the face of a then-3-year-old girl. Upon seeing this, the relative punched Reighard in the face, removed the girl from the room and called 911, according to court documents.

Reighard was visibly intoxicated when officers arrived.

Upon speaking with officers, Reighard repeatedly said he was just playing with the girl and that her head was in his lap. He later admitted to the incident, as well as touching the girl inappropriately during the same period, though he said “it wasn’t on purpose,” according to court documents.


Petition seeks end to mask use in Goshen Co. Schools

TORRINGTON — Goshen County resident Danielle Murphy has created a petition on change.org asking the Goshen County School District and Goshen County Public Health apply for a variance which would eliminate the mask mandate within Goshen County Schools. 

On March 16, 2021, Gov. Mark Gordon rescinded most of the enacted public health orders, but left mask, or face covering, requirements in public schools and medical facilities. 

Some Goshen County residents want this to change. 

“We are asking that our school board and our county health officer do the same – apply for a variance to no longer require masks within the schools,” Murphy says on the petition’s website.

Niobrara County Public Health Officer Dr. Joleen Falkenburg and Wyoming state Public Health Officer Alexia Harrist both signed a variance for the Niobrara County School District to be exempt from the statewide health orders requiring students to wear masks in school.

“The board and superintendent have to agree it is what is in the best interest for the school,” Falkenburg said. “As county health officer, I was glad to apply for it.”

As of press time, 500 supporters had already signed the petition.


Former probation officer pleads guilty to sexual assault

CASPER — A former probation officer pleaded guilty Tuesday in Natrona County District Court to a charge of sexual assault for having a sexual relationship with a parolee under her supervision.

Lindsey Shablo of Casper previously pleaded not guilty in August to the single charge of second-degree sexual assault. Her guilty plea now is part of an agreement that recommends limiting her prison sentence to three years. The maximum sentence for second-degree sexual assault is 20 years.

During a change of plea hearing Tuesday, Shablo admitted that she had sex with a parolee while employed by the Wyoming Department of Corrections as a parole officer.

Defense attorney Don Fuller confirmed in court that the victim was under her direct supervision for a period.

Under state law, a correctional employee cannot receive consent to a sexual relationship with someone they’re supervising.

According to an affidavit in the case, Shablo texted with the victim from multiple phones, including a phone she bought from Walmart that was separate from her personal and work phones.

In an interview with investigators, Shablo said they had sex two or three times between December 2018 and February 2019, always at her house in Casper. In recorded phone call between the victim and his girlfriend in February 2020, the victim also confirmed he’d had sex with Shablo “a handful of times.”

In 2020, a Department of Corrections spokesperson told the Star-Tribune that Shablo had worked for the agency, based in Casper, for three years. She left her post in April 2020. 


Man charged with attempted murder after standoff at hotel

EVANSTON — An Evanston man was taken into custody following a several-hour standoff with police last week after law enforcement was dispatched to the Super 8 Motel on Harrison Drive following a 911 call about a man being shot in the head. 

Bryce Salazar was arrested on a charge of criminal intent on March 18 after police were able to successfully resolve the situation.

Evanston Police Officer James Schmidt was the first to arrive on scene at the Super 8 when a call came into dispatch about a victim with a gunshot wound to the head. While en route to the scene, officers were advised shots were being fired in room 228 of the motel.

According to Schmidt’s report, he entered the motel office and found a man, later identified as Kalpesh Patel, with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the forehead. Patel was conscious and speaking, according to Schmidt’s report, but appeared to be in shock and was bleeding profusely.

Officers began trying to make contact with Salazar in his hotel room, but he did not respond to calls to the telephone in the room or text messages. 

At one point Salazar turned his back and began to return to a barricade he had built in the room, at which point officers seized the opportunity to reach through the window and unlock the door to enter and take Salazar into custody. 

It was determined that Patel’s injuries were caused by an air rifle that had not punctured the skull.