Special Prosecutor Appointed To High School Assault Case

DENVER (CBS4)– Denver District Attorney Beth McCann filed a motion for a special prosecutor to take over the investigation into the alleged sexual assault of a South High School student. A judge approved that request.

At least four Denver Public Schools administrators are on leave amid the sexual assault investigation.

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(credit: CBS)

DPS is not releasing much information on the matter, but shared a letter with South High School families last Friday notifying them Principal Jen Hanson and student advisor Lynette Lucero were placed on administrative leave on Thursday.

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South HS Principal Jen Hanson (credit: CBS)

CBS4 has also confirmed Instructional Superintendent Sean Precious and Barbara Downing were placed on leave Friday.

Police tell CBS4 they are investigating whether school officials followed state law with an alleged incident of reporting “inappropriate touching” between students.

McCann filed the motion on Tuesday.

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(credit: CBS)

The letter from DPS sent last week states there is information about concerns at the school that need “a closer look.”

A source close to the investigation told CBS4 the concerns surround an alleged assault that happened during the school’s homecoming bonfire on September 17.

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(credit: CBS)

The source said male students forcibly groped a 17-year-old senior, and she reported the assault to school staff within a couple days.

However, Denver Police are investigating if administrators complied with the mandatory obligation to report abuse to authorities right away.

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Letter sent home to South High School families (credit: CBS)

According to DPD Spokesperson Sonny Jackson, they were made aware of the alleged assault on September 27, nearly two weeks later.

Police also tell CBS4 the parents of the student reportedly assaulted are not pressing charges against the other students.

CBS4 has repeatedly asked DPS for comment regarding the incident, but say they cannot comment further.

DPS spokesperson Will Jones responded by email:

“We are committed to providing as much information about this as we can to our families and community. This case involves personnel matters. At this time, we cannot say anything more than what is in the letter.”

According to Colorado’s Mandatory Reporting law, all officials and employees of a public school are required to report child abuse if they “have reasonable cause to know or suspect that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect.” C.R.S. § 19-3-304.

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