Education

Park City School District faces criminal charges on 3 counts of failure to report child abuse

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — On Monday, the Summit County Attorney’s Office charged the Park City School District with three counts of failure to report child abuse, class B misdemeanors.

“The three counts reflect the results of one investigation that is nearing completion and a separate set of documents produced by the Park City School District pursuant to an Investigative Subpoena on the afternoon of Friday, March 18, 2022,” the Summit County Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

“A joint effort to investigate all facets of the Failure to Report charges, and other investigations, continue to be ongoing by the Park City Police Department, Summit County Sheriff’s Office, and the Summit County Attorney’s Office.”

“The board was informed this morning that the Summit County Attorney’s office has filed charges against the Park City School District,” the Park City Board of Education said in a statement on Monday.

“The district is looking into the charges and will respond in due course through legal counsel. We take these allegations seriously and as always prioritize the safety of our students so that they can reach their academic and social potential. We ask that the public is respectful of the district administration and allows this process to play out before assuming any negligence or bad intent.

“The board fully supports the Superintendent, her administration and all our staff as they continue to provide a safe learning environment for all our students.”

From court documents (SDP represents Park City School District personnel):

In October 2019, at a Park City School District school located within Summit County, Utah, Parent#1 attended a face-to-face meeting with SDP#1 and SDP#2. Parent#1 told SDP#1 and SDP#2 that the parent’s child said he had been touched on the penis by SDP#1 (“the 2019 allegation”). Parent#1 soon left the school. ·

SDP#1 and SDP#2 immediately called an unidentified person in the superintendent’s office, SDP#3, and reported the 2019 allegation to SDP#3.

No report was made to law enforcement or Child Protective Services.

SDP#1 and SDP#2 never heard back from the superintendent’s office.

On November 29, 2021, Parent#1 told a medical professional treating the child about the 2019 allegation. The medical professional immediately reported the 2019 allegation to law enforcement. As a result of the report, law enforcement and the Division of Child and Family Services (“DCFS”) immediately visited the school to check on the child. A Child First interview was conducted at the school at that time.

Later that day, DCFS spoke with the Park City School District superintendent over the phone. The superintendent said she was made aware of the case and that there were allegations made two years ago that SDP#1 had “touched [Parent#1’s child) on his privates”. The superintendent said that it was resolved [in 2019] and encouraged investigators to talk to SDP#5.

DCFS asked the question “[To whom were the allegations reported in 2019?”] The superintendent answered “[SDP#1 and SDP#2]”. DCFS articulated the concern that school district personnel are mandatory reporters and that no one at the school district reported the 2019 allegation to law enforcement or Child Protective Services.

The superintendent said she did not know whether or not the 2019 allegation was reported to law enforcement or Child Protective Services. DCFS asked the superintendent [“Whose responsibility is it to report allegations of child abuse?”]. The superintendent replied, “the parents.” When DCFS inquired further, the superintendent stated that she did not know because she wasn’t working at the district in 2019.

Law enforcement issued Investigative Subpoena#1 to the defendant in early 2022, and nearly 600 documents were produced. There is no evidence that the defendant conducted any investigation into the allegation that SDP#1 touched Parent#1’s child’s penis, nor is the defendant qualified or authorized to do so.

Investigative Subpoena#1 discovered an email sent on October 13, 2021, by SDP#4 to Parent#1 about the 2019 allegation. The email said:

“I just wanted to follow up with you about our conversation. My school psychologist colleague brought up that, as mandated reports, we are obligated to report any abuse is suspected or known of. Since this happened two years ago, I don’t want to stir up things that were resolved already, but I also do not want to ignore potential issues that could still be a concern. I do not want to make any assumptions, so please let me know if it is a current concern.”

When SDP#4 was interviewed by law enforcement in March 2022, they said they reported the 2019 allegation in 2021 to a colleague at the Park City School District, SDP#5. Neither SDP#4 nor SDP#5 reported the 2019 allegation to law enforcement or Child Protective Services in 2021.

No one reported the 2019 allegation to law enforcement or Child Protective Services until the medical professional reported it in late 2021. SDP#1, SDP#2, SDP#4 cooperated with law enforcement in March 2022. SDP#5 has not returned phone calls from law enforcement.

In early March 2022, and in the course and scope of the investigation of a separate incident involving juveniles, Parent#2 told law enforcement about a past allegation that Parent#2’s male child had been raped by a fellow student. Parent#2 said they learned of the allegation from SDP#6 and that the report of rape came from a student. Although SDP#6 informed Parent#2, SDP#6 did not report this allegation to law enforcement or Child Protective Services.

Further investigation revealed that in December 2021, a Park City School District school received information about an allegation that a female child was raped by a fellow student. No report was made in December 2021 to law enforcement of Child Protective Services.

Instead, documents produced pursuant to Investigative Subpoena#2 reveal that, in December 2021, SDP#7 interviewed the male child about the rape allegation. SDP#7 then interviewed the female child about the rape allegation and asked: “if she told her friends she was raped or sexually assaulted.” SDP#7 then held a mediation among and between the parents and children involved in the allegation.

Allegations relating to rape and Parent#2’s child and the female child did not come to the attention of law enforcement and Child Protective Services until they were unearthed in the course and scope of an entirely separate law enforcement investigation in March 2022.

From the Summit County Attorney’s Office:

Everyone is a mandatory reporter. Failure to do so is a crime.
“It is the legal duty of any individual who has reason to believe that a child is, or has been, the subject of abuse or neglect (or observes a child being subjected to conditions or circumstances that would reasonably result in abuse or neglect) to immediately report to the Utah Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) or local law enforcement.”
Criminal investigations are time intensive; however, child protection demands an urgent and immediate response. Parents and the public need to be aware that if an allegation of child abuse or neglect was reported to Park City School District schools in the past, that allegation may not have been reported to the proper authorities and may not have been properly investigated. If you only made your report about suspected child maltreatment to the school, please call one of the two numbers below:
Utah Child Protective Services: 24/7 Hotline: (855) 323- 3237
or
Summit County Dispatch: (435) 615- 3600

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