CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- A convicted sex offender will no longer appear on Colorado’s register for sex offenders.
An Arapahoe County judge granted 43-year-old Ifiok Etuk’s petition to remove his name and photo from the state’s database of sex offenders that is accessible to the public.
“I’m a little surprised,” said Arapahoe County Deputy District Attorney Erica Reuer, who argued against the motion.
In 2001, Etuk pleaded guilty to attempted sex assault. According to court documents, Etuk impregnated a 16-year-old girl in 1999, when he was 25.
Court documents suggest the girl later got an abortion.
The girl met Etuk through an adult at her high school and suggested Etuk might serve as a mentor. Court documents suggest he volunteered as a track coach.
Etuk said the sex was consensual, but court documents say the girl was forced to have sex against her will.
Etuk received a deferred sentence, meaning probation no prison. But in 2004, his probation was revoked for noncompliance and he ended up serving about three years in prison.
Etuk was released in 2007 and 10 years later was allowed to petition the court to remove his name from the sex offender registry.
“People run my name and they see sex offender and that kills any kind of passion or message that I have out there to help anybody else at all,” Etuk said. “It will be good for the judge to allow me to get off the sex offender list.”
Prosecutors objected in part because of a 2009 book Etuk self-published called “A Romance Truth.”
The book is meant to be a romance guide for young African-American couples and tells three stories.
Prosecutors say the first story has eerie similarities to his sex crime because it takes place in July 1999 in the home of the main character’s mother.
“That it took place in a basement. That it began with touching of hair, neck rubbing, back rubbing and straight onto sex. It was in the book as well,” Reuer said.
“The book actually is a prime example of what people go through and what not to do,” Etuk said. "It’s a book of inspiration and courage to make a difference in yourself or whatever you go through.”
“I think if the young lady involved read it, she would be sick to her stomach and recognize it,” Reuer said.
Prosecutors also pointed out Etuk opened a massage business in 2014 without a state license.
He closed it a year later after the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies issued a cease and desist letter based on Etuk’s criminal history.
“I thought this was a case that had the kind of concerns with regards to how a person reaches out to a community that would be persuasive,” said Reuer, explaining why she asked the judge to deny Etuk’s motion to get himself off the sex offender registry.
But the judge determined Etuk hasn’t been in criminal trouble since his release from prison and has attempted to turn his life around by attending college.
Etuk testified that he’s set to graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver in May with a degree in English and hopes to become a motivational speaker.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation said it could take up to a week to remove Etuk from the registry.