Friday, January 12

Denver-area principal pressures 14-yr-old student who claimed abuse by teacher. 4 yrs later...


When a 14-year-old student at Prairie Middle School near Denver told school officials that one of her teachers--34-year-old Brian Vasquez--was sexually abusing her, principal David Gonzalez, assistant principal Adrienne Macintosh and counselor Cheryl Somers quickly circled the wagons to protect one of their own.

State law requires that school employees report such allegations to the police, but instead Arapahoe County prosecutors say the three questioned the student in the presence of the teacher she'd accused of molesting her.  They told her Vasquez was a “valued teacher”and that her accusations could ruin his family and career. 
From left: principal Gonzalez, asst principal McIntosh, accused teacher Vasquez
Browbeaten by the trio, prosecutors say the girl retracted her claims.  The officials made her apologize to Vasquez and hug him.  To add insult to injury, the principal eventually suspended the girl for what he called false accusations.

Fortunately some public employees not in the school system took a closer look, and Vasquez was arrested last August after he confessed multiple sex offenses to Aurora police. He faces 37 counts related to sexual offenses against the original complainant as well as other female students, spanning four years.
Vasquez’s abuse of students continued for years after the initial accusation.  It only stopped in August when a parent of another girl went to Aurora police and reported what they suspected was a sexual relationship between Vasquez and their daughter.  When police questioned Vasquez he admitted to abusing multiple students, included the girl who had been suspended back in 2013.

According to testimony at the preliminary hearing, Vasquez’s sexual contact with teen girls escalated after the girl’s 2013 accusations, and included raping a 15-year-old girl in 2016 and 2017, and exchanging graphic photos with a 15-year-old in 2015.

The principal, assistant principal and counselor who covered for Vasquez and decided not to tell police or the department of human services are also being charged.  The indictment said the staffers told the grand jury they didn’t remember the first accusations against Vasquez.  However,  prosecutors noted that all three staffers had signed letters regarding the student's suspension.

The preliminary hearing was filled with graphic testimony about Vasquez’s relationships with the girls. At times police struggled to keep the numerous acts and multiple victims straight.  Much of the illegal sexual contact happened inside the school, according to testimony.

Now:  Everyone knows there are bad people in every group.  The perp is to blame here, but aside from that is the question of why the presumably sane, rational principal and vice and the counselor would defend the guy without following the law and reporting him.  What made them take the perp's side against the student?

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