Man charged with sex assault at Denver airport - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Man charged with sex assault at Denver airport

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DENVER (AP) — An Oregon man suspected of raping a 22-year-old woman at Denver International Airport was charged Tuesday with one count of sexual assault.

Noel Bertrand, 26, of Portland was accused of assaulting the woman just after midnight on April 12 on the floor of a concourse.

Two airport employees on the tarmac saw the incident through a window and intervened, authorities said.

The woman's family members said they were shocked to hear that Bertrand was only charged with one count.

Several messages seeking comment from family lawyer Patrick Ridley were not immediately returned.

The Associated Press does not use the names of people who report being sexually assaulted unless they agree to be identified. The AP also isn't identifying family members to protect the woman's identity.

Bertrand was being held on $50,000 bond and was due in court Thursday, when a public defender could be named to represent him.

He could face up to 12 years in prison if convicted and be denied parole for life even after completing his term under the state sentencing structure.

The victim's family members said the woman had missed a flight and decided to spend the night at the airport.

A man struck up a conversation at a restaurant then followed her to a spot where he sat next to her and tried to kiss her, according to her family.

Court documents say Bertrand hit the woman in the eye and choked her by her shirt collar as he threw her to the floor and assaulted her.

Family members have said the woman has a concussion and severe head pains.

The woman spoke to KMGH after the incident. She said three airport employees passed by while she was being assaulted and walked away without helping.

Denver police have said the employees who witnessed the incident responded appropriately by calling for help. Police declined to release additional details, citing an ongoing investigation.

Jenny Schiavone, a spokeswoman for the airport, said an initial airport review found employees followed all proper procedures. She did not release details of the review.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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