Kody Dayish, a 29-year-old from Shiprock, New Mexico, was arrested Saturday for an incident that occurred Friday night while he was in town for this year’s Durango Independent Film Festival.
An acclaimed filmmaker that focuses on Navajo culture and issues, Dayish has won multiple awards for his work. He was in Durango to show his 15-minute film, “Spared,” a story of two Navajo families struggling with violence.
Dayish was arrested around 6 p.m. Saturday on charges of sexual assault after police investigated an incident that occurred the night before at the Best Western Rio Grande hotel, 400 East Second Ave.
Dayish’s bail was originally set at $250,000.
On Monday, prosecutors asked La Plata County Judge Dondi Osborne to uphold that bail amount “given the severity” of the charges, as well as the fact Dayish had a previous domestic violence/battery charge in 2013 in New Mexico.
Prosecutors also pointed to the fact Dayish has no ties to Colorado and alcohol was involved in the incident. They also asked the judge to impose a protection order that would prohibit Dayish from contacting the alleged victim.
The alleged victim, a 24-year-old woman, was listening in on the court hearing through a teleconference. She asked that bail remain at $250,000 to ensure her safety.
Dayish’s public defender, Justin Bogan, argued that Dayish poses no flight risk, saying his family has long ties to the area and live in the Four Corners, specifically Shiprock. A number of Dayish’s family were present Monday in court.
“They have assured me they will make sure he comes to court and meets all of his obligations,” Bogan said.
Bogan said Dayish has no documented problems with alcohol or mental health issues, has never been in prison and was able to settle his previous domestic violence/battery charge through a completed diversion program.
Bogan said Dayish’s status as a known filmmaker makes him easily recognizable.
Judge Osborne decided to reduce Dayish’s bail to $25,000. She also imposed a protection order for the victim, as well as a measure that Dayish cannot consume alcohol and will be regularly drug tested.
It was unclear late Monday if Dayish posted bail or remained in custody. He is set to appear at 10 a.m. March 16 in court, where he’s expected to face formal charges by prosecutors.
The Durango Herald obtained an arrest affidavit Monday that shows the victim reported the incident to police around 12:30 a.m. Saturday, claiming the sexual assault happened about two hours earlier.
Upon Durango Police’s arrival, the victim was “crying and appeared to be emotionally distraught.”
She told officers she had met Dayish through Facebook. About two weeks ago, Dayish asked her to model for a photo shoot of a new clothing line he was designing, which she did.
Dayish then asked her to join him at the Durango Independent Film Festival. The victim agreed to accompany him with the understanding “that they were going to come for the festival and then leave in the same day,” according to the report.
When she arrived in Durango, the victim modeled for a photo shoot with Dayish at the hotel. Afterwards, the two went out for a couple of drinks. The woman told police they returned to the hotel room where Dayish continued to drink.
Dayish offered to let the woman stay the night in his hotel room, and she agreed, she told police. The woman lay on one of the two beds in the hotel room, assuming Dayish would sleep on the other bed.
Instead, the woman told police Dayish went to her bed and began undressing and touching her inappropriately. The woman told detectives she “was scared when Dayish laid next to me” and she “was not expecting it to happen.”
The woman told Dayish she did not want to engage in any type of sexual activity, but he continued to undress and touch her inappropriately. He then started taking off her clothes and climbed on top of her, according to the affidavit.
The Durango Police Department officer investigating the incident wrote in his report: “The way (the victim) explained it, it sounded like she was almost frozen with fear and could not think what to do.”
The woman told police that Dayish wanted sex, and in her fear, she suggested instead he perform oral sex on her. After some time, Dayish then pushed for sex again, which she declined.
The woman said she was seeing someone else and asked Dayish to leave.
Dayish then told the woman he would never have invited her had he known she wasn’t interested in sex and was seeing someone else. It also appears Dayish hid the victim’s phone so she couldn’t call for help.
Once the victim found her phone, Dayish left the room around midnight. She contacted police and was taken to Mercy Regional Medical Center for a sexual assault examination.
On Saturday, Dayish heard on social media that the victim had reported the incident and police were looking for him. He then contacted the Durango Police Department and reported to the station around 5 p.m.
According to police records, Dayish “provided a very similar story.” He told police he thought the two were “having a moment,” both wanting sex, until the victim said “wait, wait, wait out of nowhere” and suggested oral sex instead.
But after the oral sex, he thought she wanted to continue with sex. It was at this point, Dayish told investigators, that the woman told him to stop and that she was seeing someone else.
Dayish also told police he would not have invited the woman had he known she was seeing someone else.
Dayish told police he took the victim into the bathroom to “talk about what happened.” He said he hid the victim’s phone because he was afraid she would call someone to “jump” him.
The victim told investigators that Dayish had closed the door to the bathroom and wouldn’t allow her to leave. Dayish disputed this claim in his interview with police, saying the door was left open.
Dayish was also arrested on suspicion of false imprisonment on top of the felony sexual assault charge, according to police records.
“Dayish appeared to believe that what he did was not right because he was so worried about the police arriving,” the arrest affidavit said. “Based on the statements made by both subjects, the interaction did not appear to be consensual.”