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Former Fontana trustee remains jailed

James Colwell apprehended in Costa Rica after disappearance

Mike Heine/The Week

(Published April 27, 2007, 10:51 a.m.)

James A. Colwell, the former village of Fontana trustee who sexually assaulted a 6-year-old girl in 1999, will remain in jail.

Colwell, 67, had served a year in Walworth County Jail and was on probation when he absconded to Costa Rica in 2004.

He was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison for failing to maintain his status as a sex offender.

The time will be a part the 30-year prison sentence Colwell started March 30 for violating his probation.

Colwell will be eligible to apply for probation in about seven years since his crimes were committed before Wisconsin's truth in sentencing law went into effect.

While out of jail, Colwell had his probation transferred to Georgia in 2003, where he has family.

He disappeared in 2004 when he failed to make a meeting with a probation agent.

He was arrested in December 2005 by Costa Rican authorities and held in a prison there eating beans, rice and bread while fighting extradition, according to the United States Marshals Service. He was returned to Walworth County in August 2006.

Colwell was working as a real estate agent in Playa Flamingo under his real name.

Colwell declined to comment at his sentencing hearing. Neither the victim, who is now in her early teens, nor her family were at the sentencing hearing.

Her father said earlier that that girl was doing "OK" in the years following the ordeal. The girl was the daughter of one-time friends of Colwell's.



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