Park City School District faces charges for failing to report multiple cases of child abuse
SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah— The Summit County Attorney’s Office filed criminal charges against Park City School District for failing to report three occasions of child abuse, court documents state.
In 2019, a case of child abuse was reported to two district employees. For clarity and in the same style as court documents they will be listed here as district employee 1 and district employee 2. The parent of the child involved met face to face with district employee 1 and district employee 2 after their child had told them they were touched inappropriately by district employee 1. District employees 1 and 2 called the superintendent’s office and reported the abuse to district employee 3.
No report was ever made to law enforcement or the Utah Division of Child and Family Services and district employee 1 and 2 never heard back from the superintendent.
The DCFS and law enforcement were made aware of a case of sexual abuse that occurred in 2019 when a parent informed a medical professional treating her child about the experience on November 29, 2021. The medical professional reported the abuse to both DCFS and law enforcement.
As a result of the report, both DCFS and law enforcement went to the school to conduct a “child first interview” with the child.
Later that same day, DCFS contacted Park City School District superintendent. The superintendent said “she was aware of the case” and that there were allegations two years ago that a district employee touched the child’s genitalia. The superintendent said the situation was “resolved [in 2019]” and encouraged DCFS to talk to district employee 5.
DCFS asked, “To whom were the allegations reported in 2019?” and the superintendent told them district employee 1 and 2. DCFS explained that those employees were considered mandatory reporters in cases of abuse or sexual assault, and that neither law enforcement nor DCFS had been informed.
The superintendent told DCFS it was the parents’ responsibility to report allegations of child abuse and then stated she “did not know because she was not working at the district in 2019.”
Through subpoenas, almost 600 pages of documents were produced however, no investigation was ever conducted into whether the child was touched inappropriately by district employee 1.
An email from district employee 4 recovered by subpoenas was sent on Oct. 13, 2021 to the parent of the child:
“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 things up 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 that is a current concern.”
When interviewed by law enforcement, district employee 4 said they had reported the allegation to district employee 5. Neither district employee 4 or 5 reported the allegation to law enforcement of DCFS.
District employees 1, 2, and 4 have cooperated with law enforcement in March 2022, while district employee 5 has not returned calls.
In a separate incident, in early March 2022, a different parent reported a past allegation that their male child was raped by a fellow student. The parent said they had learned of the rape allegation from district employee 6. Although district employee 6 informed the parent of the rape, they never informed law enforcement of DCFS.
Further investigation brought another case to light. 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 to law enforcement or Child Protective Services. ”
Instead, documents found through subpoena #2, revealed district employee 7 interviewed “the male child about the rape allegation” in December 2021. District employee 7 then asked the female child about the rape allegation and asked, “if she’d told her friends she was raped or sexually assaulted.”
According to court documents, district employee 7 ” then held a mediation among and between the parents and children involved in the allegation.”
These allegations did not come to the attention of law enforcement and Child Protective Services until March 2022 when they were unearthed in the process of an investigation into a separate matter.
Charges were filed against the Park City School District Monday by Summit County Attorney, Margaret H. Olsen.
Under Utah law: Utah Code § 53G-9-209, Utah Code § 62-4a-403, and Utah Code § 62-4a-411. It states,“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”.
The district will face three charges of failure to report child abuse, class B misdemeanors. These charges are part of an ongoing investigation.
A release from Olsen stated, “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 at (855) 323- 3237 or Summit County Dispatch at (435) 615- 3600.”
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