AURORA, Colo. -- A newly released report shows Aurora police had received a complaint alleging a Grandview High School security guard was having sex with students more than a year before he was arrested on sexual assault charges, and that the school was made aware of the allegations at the time but didn’t act.
Officials at the school, which is part of the Cherry Creek School District, maintain they didn’t know about the allegations from March 2016 when they made the controversial decision not to tell parents about the May 2017 arrest of the guard, Broderick Lundie, citing a belief that the alleged abuse was not widespread.
Cherry Creek Schools Superintendent Harry Bull wrote in a letter home to parents in August: “In contrast to the rumors circulating on social media, the best efforts of the Aurora police found only one Grandview student connected with Lundie’s alleged crimes. This is an individual who faced and continues to face the very real prospect of being re-victimized under the scrutiny of a full-blown media inquiry.”
Bull says the district had no written record of being told about the 2016 allegations, saying he first learned of the report during an interview with Denver7 Investigates.
A Controversial Decision
Lundie, who is the son of a principal at another high school in the district, is awaiting trial on two separate sexual assault charges related to the case— one a felony and one a misdemeanor.
Lundie’s arrest report says he and the female student at Grandview exchanged elicit pictures on social media starting in February 2017, and that he admitted to receiving oral sex from the girl.
His arrest report also said that two other students had told police Lundie had communicated with them on Instagram, but said nothing sexual happened. One of the students told officers that Lundie’s messages made her uncomfortable.
When Lundie’s arrest went public in August, some students and parents in the district began buzzing, saying Lundie may have had even more of a history of getting involved with students.
Bull still defends his decision to keep the arrest quiet.
“Parents have a right to know,” Bull said in a recent interview with Denver7 Investigates. “I’m never going to suggest that they don’t…but there still comes a time where you make a decision, in the specifics of a situation, where you decide what you’re going to do, maybe, for a kid. And if I have erred, I’ve erred on the side of trying to protect an adolescent victim’s identity — the victim of a sex assault … If that’s an error, then you know what, I’ll accept that.”
But a source close to the goings-on at Grandview High School, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, called the school’s and district’s responses to Lundie’s arrest a “cover-up.”
“I began questioning why didn’t they mention it. Parents should know because this is quite a serious situation,” the employee said.
The employee didn’t buy the district’s explanation that it withheld the news from parents in order to protect the identity of the victim.
“The child would never have been known. [She was] a minor, and so the school saying that they were protecting the child is just an excuse,” the employee said. “I don’t think the administrators put the kids first. I think they put their reputations first.”
History of Allegations
Bull says his decision to keep Lundie’s arrest quiet may have gone differently had the 2016 police report uncovered by Denver7 Investigates been brought to his attention sooner.
The report, obtained via a police records request, shows a student contacted a city of Aurora employee regarding a Grandview security guard having sex with students.
The city employee contacted the Aurora Police Department officer working as the school resource officer at Grandview, who then started an investigation.
The reporting student told the officer she’d had a conversation with another student about a young black security guard, claiming the classmate had said the guard had sex with “several” seniors at the high school.
The officer found that Lundie was the only young black security guard working at the school and identified him as a suspect. Another black security guard who had been fired by the school before the allegations was also named as a potential suspect.
But the school resource officer interviewed the girl who had supposedly made the allegations to her classmate, and the girl denied having any knowledge of any students sleeping with male staffers at the school.
In the report, the school resource officer says he contacted a sergeant with the Crimes Against Children unit, who told the resource officer that “due to a lack of any credible victim,” he would have to file the report only as an informational report.
The officer also wrote in the report that he’d notified his sergeant of the allegations and report, and that he “notified the school of the allegation along with [his] findings.”
“The officer did an investigation, he notified our Crimes Against Children investigative sergeant,” said Aurora police commander Ernie Ortiz when asked about the report. “Given the allegation that was presented in 2016, I think the officer did an appropriate, thorough investigation given what he had and what the witness had.”
The informational police report never made its way to Lundie’s personnel file, and Bull, the district superintendent, said he knew nothing about it.
He says, however, that having the report could have made a difference in notifying parents of Lundie’s arrest.
“It absolutely could have. Absolutely,” Bull said. “It’s not information that I have, so I have to track down and find out: why did we not know that? Why was that not brought into the investigation? The Aurora Police Department had that, and yet it wasn’t reflected in any of the conversations that I’ve had.”
The Aurora Police Department says the investigating officer told Grandview’s administrators of the 2016 allegation verbally, per department protocol, but didn’t provide a written report.
“The fact that they did receive notification that the allegations existed was appropriate notification at the time,” APD’s Ortiz said.
However, in light of the issues raised by this report, both the district and police say they need to re-examine the way they communicate with one another.
“There’s nothing more important than ensuring that when children do attend school that they’re there in a safe environment,” Ortiz said. “We’d be happy to work with the school district — both the Aurora Public Schools and Cherry Creek Schools — to ensure that there is a notification process that is much more clear in the future.”
Cherry Creek has already taken action because of the issues exposed by Denver7 Investigates. Bull sent a letter to district staff on Friday requiring that any police or social services investigation of an employee, related to their job, be reported immediately to human resources with a police report number if applicable.
Colorado state law does not currently require school districts to notify parents about the arrests of teachers and school employees. The Denver7 Investigates team is working to shed light in the days and weeks ahead on additional cases of parents being left in the dark about arrests. If you know something Denver7 should know, call our tip line at (303) 832-TIPS, email Tony@TheDenverChannel.com and Brittany.Freeman@KMGH.com or text our team at (720) 618-4812.