Ex-CU student convicted of rape released after one year in jail

BOULDER, Colo. -- Outrage brewed in Boulder after a convicted sex offender was let out of jail early.

Austin Wilkerson, a former University of Colorado student who was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman he met at a party, served a one-year sentence.

Boulder County sheriff's deputies said their hands were tied; the law required the release of Wilkerson.

Prosecutors said Wilkerson took advantage of a drunk college student in 2014, saying he told people he was going to take care of her. He raped her, according to prosecutors.

The 23-year-old is no longer living in Boulder. As of Tuesday, he was registered as a sex offender in Morrison.

Wilkerson served 367 days of a work-release sentence in the county lock-up. His two-year sentence was slashed in half for good behavior.

“Under Colorado statute, [through] alternative sentencing programs like work release, you receive one day of good time for every day you have successfully completed the program,” Boulder County sheriff’s Cmdr. Mike Wagner said.

Wilkerson was convicted in May 2016 of sexually assaulting the woman.

He could have spent 12 years in prison, but Boulder District Judge Patrick Butler ordered a considerably lighter sentence.

The sentencing led to an unsuccessful petition to remove Butler from the bench. Prosecutors at the time voiced disappointment with the sentence and concern for the victim.

Victim advocates worry light sentences send the wrong message to those who might consider taking advantage of drunk and vulnerable people.

While Wilkerson is no longer behind bars, his legal responsibilities continue.

“Part of his sentence was he was sentenced to probation,” Wagner said.

That probation will last two decades in a sex offender intensive supervised program, according to Wagner.

Wilkerson could not be reached for comment.