By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4)– Five current and former staffers at Denver’s East High School face criminal charges for failing to report an alleged sexual assault. They have each been charged with one count of violation of persons required to report, a third-degree midemeanor.

The defendants have been accused of failing to report an alleged sexual assault of a student by another student that occurred off campus in March 2016.

Former East High School principal Andy Mendelsberg speaks with CBS4. (credit: CBS)

Among those charged is Andy Mendelsberg who was forced to resign during the scandal involving a cheerleading coach with questionable methods.

The others are Dean Jennifer Sculley, counselor Anita Curtiss, Dean Eric Sinclair, and Vice Principal Jann Peterson. All have been served and are scheduled to appear in court on May 16.

(credit: CBS)

According to court documents, a male student reportedly invited a female student to his home where they watched a movie. That’s where the alleged sexual assault happened.

Two days later, the girl broke down in tears in a washroom at the school and was taken to the dean and a counselor at the school.

Court documents state she was brought to the office of the dean Jennifer Sculley.

Sculley is then reported to have called the girl’s parents saying it would be hard on the girl if they moved forward with charges. Charging papers claim Sculley a told the girl, “…this is our little secret.”

The parents of the female student claim the girl then became a victim of bullying
and they wanted to remove the girl from the school.

In April 2017, the girl’s parents said they wanted then East High School principal Mendelsberg to talk about the sexual assault and bullying. They claim this was all “new news” to him and told them, “to have their daughter find a new group of friends to hang out with.”

The parents obtained their daughter’s East High School file and found no documentation about a sex assault and very little about bullying.

East High School sent home a letter to students and their families which stated, in part, “Our records indicate that our employees did notify the Denver Police Department of this incident in March 2016.”

“We know how important it is to ensure that any student who has concerns about inappropriate or unlawful sexual behavior be fully supported and that concerns about abuse be promptly reported to law enforcement. As you know, we have strong policies and procedures in place to support students and are committed to ensuring a safe learning environment in our schools.”

The juvenile in the alleged assault was charged on March 2 of this year in juvenile court with one count of sexual assault.

None of the administrators reached by CBS4 would comment on the misdemeanor charges.

According to the Denver District Attorney’s Office, “State law requires certain categories of persons, including school officials or employees, to report or cause a report to be made to the local county child welfare agency or local law enforcement agency an incident of alleged child abuse or neglect after receiving information of such.  The Denver Police Department began an investigation into the alleged assault and failure to report in November 2017, when the victim’s parents directly contacted the police department. “

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.


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