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Indicted school district employees expressed concerns girls 'were not credible', wanted to protect gym teacher

Summit Middle School's principal, a counselor, a district employee and a former district employee face charges for failing to report suspected abuse.

FRISCO, Colo. — Three Summit County school district employees and one former employee are each facing charges of failure to report child abuse.

The Fifth Judicial District Attorney's Office said the four were indicted by a grand jury on Friday "for failing to follow mandatory reporting requirements where child abuse was alleged." 

The suspects each turned themselves in to law enforcement this week, prosecutors said. They are: 

  • Summit Middle School Principal Greg Guevara
  • Summit Middle School Counselor Maureen Flannagan
  • District HR Specialist Amanda Southern
  • Former district HR Director Grant Schmidt, who now lives in Parker

The suspects are each charged with one count of failure to report child abuse or neglect, which is a misdemeanor. They were each given $500 personal recognizance bonds.

According to a letter from the superintendent to district families sent Tuesday, Guevara and Flannagan have been put on administrative leave until further notice. 

The Summit School District told 9NEWS they are cooperating with law enforcement. 

Court documents indicate the alleged crimes happened from September to October 2021. 

On Oct. 27 of that year, the Summit School District alerted the Summit County Sheriff’s Office about allegations of sexual misconduct by a teacher. The district identified the teacher as 61-year-old Leonard Grams, who worked at the school. 

Grams was charged with five counts of sex assault on a child and three counts of sex assault on a child by a person in a position of trust. He has pleaded not guilty. His next court appearance is set for Thursday.

According to an arrest affidavit for Grams, on Sept. 23, 2021, a teenager at Summit Middle School told a school staff member that Grams touched her breast. She wrote a statement the following weekend that the school principal read on Sept. 30, the documents said.

No one from the district told police of the allegation until Oct. 27 -- more than a month after the student first said something to school staff.

Guevara conducted an investigation and determined the girl's claim "just wasn't sufficient," although the result could have gone "either way," the affidavit said. 

When two more girls came forward with allegations of inappropriate touching two weeks later, Schmidt looked into the matter, the affidavit said. Schmidt decided "it did not sound like Mr. Grams did anything inappropriate."

According to the grand jury indictment, the school district's HR department initiated an investigation into the allegations made by the second and third girls on Oct. 18. That inquiry lasted two days. 

The indictment says Schmidt and Southern believed the three girls "were not credible with their version of events." 

When Schmidt and Southern talked with Grams, according to the indictment, Grams was told that an inquiry was only conducted because there was a second allegation, and that the allegations would stay between the five staff members. 

"Dr. Schmidt noted that one of his concerns is that once an allegation goes public, a person is assumed guilty 'and that's a part of why we made the decision as we got into it: we don't call the police right away, unless it's so doggone obvious,'" the indictment says. 

"Ms. Southern agreed with these statements, and explained that 'Grant and I have shared some personal experiences of being accused of something that didn't happen, and it's horrifying,' and that they wanted to make sure that Mr. Grams was 'absolutely protected,'" the indictment continues.

According to the indictment, Schmidt assured Grams that "we're the investigators telling you we don't believe you did anything wrong, so we're affirming that that's the case." 

The indictment also says Schmidt said "if students tried again to raise allegations it would be 'nipped pretty quick' but that he 'can't speak to immature children and their decision-making skills.'" 

The district reached out to law enforcement on Oct. 27 after four additional students came forward with allegations of misconduct against Grams, the affidavit said.

The school board accepted Grams' resignation effective Aug. 31, 2022.

The mandatory reporting law in Colorado applies to a multitude of professions, including school district employees. Prosecutors said mandatory reporters in Colorado must immediately report child abuse or neglect to the Department of Human Services, to law enforcement or to the state child abuse reporting hotline.


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