CENTENNIAL -- For the second time in two days, an Arapahoe County judge has rejected efforts by a Prairie Middle School administrator to have charges of failure to report suspected child abuse dismissed.
In court Tuesday, Judge Cheryl Rowles-Stokes rejected a motion to dismiss the case filed by the attorney representing principal David Gonzales. The motion argued the grand jury did not have probable cause to indict him. When the judge denied the motion, the school principal entered a plea of not guilty.
Gonzales and Vice Principal Adrienne MacIntosh each face a single misdemeanor charge after a grand jury indicted them in January. The indictment alleged the school conducted its own investigation when a 14-year-old student reported teacher Brian Vasquez sexually assaulted her in 2013 rather than alerting police. According to the indictment, the student was pressured to recant her allegation, suspended when she complied, and was forced to apologize to Vasquez and even hug her alleged abuser.
Last year, police arrested Vasquez on charges he sexually abused at least five students over the course of several years. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
Both Gonzales and MacIntosh are on leave from the Cherry Creek School District pending the outcome of their criminal cases. They both told the grand jury they did not remember the 2013 allegations against Vasquez.
MacIntosh’s attorney unsuccessfully sought to have her case dismissed on Monday, arguing the 18-month statute of limitations for the alleged crime had long elapsed by the time the grand jury indicted her. She has also pleaded not guilty.
Last month prosecutors dismissed the charge against former school counselor Cheryl Somers-Wegienka, who was also indicted by the grand jury in January. The case is sealed so it is unclear why the prosecution dropped the charge.
District attorney George Brauchler told Denver7 last week the case sends a message to every school employee who is legally obligated to report suspected child abuse.
"You are not to be the investigators, you are not to be the judge and the jury, you are the mandatory reporters. You tell law enforcement, and you let them protect these kids," Brauchler said.