CENTENNIAL -- An Arapahoe County judge ruled Monday the case can move forward against a Prairie Middle School vice principal charged with failure to report child abuse, despite her attorney’s argument that the case should be dropped due to the statute of limitations for the alleged crime.
Adrienne Macintosh was indicted in January by a grand jury along with principal David Gonzales and former counselor Cheryl Somers-Wegienka in January on misdemeanor allegations stemming from the 2013 school year. The indictment said the school leaders pressured a 14-year-old student to recant sexual assault allegations against teacher Brian Vasquez, suspended her when she did recant, and failed to turn the allegations over to law enforcement as required by law.
Macintosh’s attorney brought a motion to have the case dismissed because the statute of limitations to bring charges for a failure to report suspected child abuse is 18 months but the allegations are much older.
Judge Cheryl Ann Rowles-Stokes ruled in court Monday the case against Macintosh should move forward after prosecutors argued the statute of limitations for failing to report a crime should be interpreted differently than for other crimes.
"The day that they're told by this victim of what this teacher did, that's not the only day they have an obligation to report. They have an obligation to report the next day, the next day and the next day, and every day they failed to, should start that statute of limitations anew," district attorney George Brauchler told Contact7 Investigates.
Macintosh did not respond to questions outside the courtroom Monday.
Court records show the charge against Somers-Wegienka was dismissed by the district attorney in May. That case is sealed so prosecutors said they could not comment on the reasons for the dismissal.
Gonzales is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow in front of the same judge.
Prosecutors say the teacher in question, Brian Vasquez, eventually admitted to sexually assaulting the student in 2013 and several others. He has pleaded not guilty and is due in court later this month.
Prosecutor: Law needs to change
In February, state Senator Rhonda Fields proposed legislation that would have extended the statute of limitations for failure to report child abuse from 18 months to five years. The bill failed in committee.
Brauchler said he hopes lawmakers address the issue again in the next legislative session because of all of the legal questions raised by the Prairie Middle School case.
“I think for sure this is going to end up being appealed. I don't think it's a closed question, that this is the way it's going to go in every other jurisdiction that encounters this exact same issue,” Brauchler said. “I think that the legislature needs to act.”