Man faces more than century in prison for child abuse, sex assault
Published on May 05, 2022
GREELEY, Colo. (Weld County D.A.) – A Dacono man is facing more than a century in prison after a jury convicted him last week of multiple charges related to child abuse and child sex assault.
In December of 2018, Dacono police were investigating Dante Larks for domestic violence. In 2019, the Weld District Attorney’s Office began investigating Larks for child abuse and child sex assault allegations.
Investigation revealed that the child victim was verbally, physically, emotionally and sexually abused by the defendant.
The child victim reported that the defendant would lock the child in the unfinished basement many nights during a period of several months. The victim wasn't allowed out of the basement except for a few hours a day, and at times, had to go to the bathroom in a bucket.
The victim also reported that the defendant would throw peanuts down the stairs and that’s what the child would eat most days.
While the child would be asleep in the basement, the defendant would go downstairs and sexually assault the child while the defendant was armed with a gun.
"This case, is by far, one of the most horrific and egregious cases that our office has ever seen", Weld District Attorney Michael Rourke said. "No child should ever experience the horror and trauma that this child will now have to live forever with. This is why we do what we do each day. We’ll do whatever it takes to ensure monsters like this will never have an opportunity to harm another child."
After a three week long trial, and three years of litigation, a jury convicted the defendant last week of multiple charges including: sexual assault with a deadly weapon, child abuse causing serious bodily injury, and two counts of sex assault on a child – position of trust and pattern of abuse.
“To our knowledge, this is the first time prosecutors have ever convinced both a judge and a jury that the impact and long-term damage that PTSD does to the brain can, and in this case did, amount to serious bodily injury,” Rourke said. “This is monumental as we move forward and prosecute other egregious cases like this one.”
The defendant is facing 142 years to life in the Colorado Department of Corrections. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 11 at 1:30 p.m. in Division 15.
Deputy District Attorneys Arynn Clark and Yvette Guthrie prosecuted this case.