CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Park City School District facing criminal accusations of failure to report child abuse

Mar 21, 2022, 7:32 PM | Updated: Mar 22, 2022, 9:52 am
Park City School District (file photo)
(file photo)

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — The Park City School District is facing criminal charges.

Yes, the entire district.  The Summit County Attorney’s Office is filing criminal charges for allegedly failing to report child abuse.

Accusations of the Park City School District

The probable cause statement says a parent told a medical professional that her son had been groped by a school district worker in 2019.  The statement says that parent had a meeting with two district workers to report this. And the superintendent’s office was informed, but no one told the police back then.  Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson says that a medical professional told police, which is when the investigation officially started.

“Count one, failure to report, we were made aware of on November 29, 2021, and have been gathering documents and information since that time,” Olson said.

According to the PC statement, officials from DCFS spoke with the superintendent, who reportedly said the issue had been resolved in 2019. 

The statement reads, “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… nor is the defendant qualified or authorized to do so.”

While Olson’s office was investigating the 2019 incident, she says they learned about two more cases where children reported being raped by a fellow student. However, workers didn’t report it to police.  In one case, a worker reportedly performed a “mediation” between the parents and children involved.

“There are three different charges stemming from three different failures to report,” Olson said.  “The second and third counts, we received the information on Friday afternoon.  We have other investigations, ongoing.”

‘Mandatory reporters’

Olson says everyone in Utah is a “mandatory reporter,” meaning we’re required, by law, to call DCFS or police if we believe a child has been abused or neglected.  She says educators should have known better than to assume they could resolve the situations, themselves.

“From all available information, this is a systemic and institutional failure that we have going on and there are a number of individuals who may be involved,” Olson said.

Olson says it’s possible more charges could be filed later if they find out about more cases going forward.

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