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Vastly different responses from same district in school sex assault scandals

Two sexual assault scandals alleged to involve Cherry Creek Schools employees and students – and two very different responses from the district.

Two sexual assault scandals alleged to involve Cherry Creek Schools employees and students resulted in two very different responses from the district.

One of the suspects is a school security guard whose father is a longtime Cherry Creek administrator.

The other is a little-known middle school teacher.

The first case gained traction May 4 when Aurora police arrested the security guard on charges that he had sexual contact with at least one student at Grandview High after trading lewd pictures of himself with her. Broderick Lundie, 29, is the son of Leon Lundie, who is the current principal at Overland High School – and a longtime colleague of the district’s superintendent, Dr. Harry Bull.

Credit: Aurora Police

Cherry Creek administrators made no public mention of the younger Lundie’s arrest, his suspension from his job and his ultimate decision to resign.

And 9Wants to Know has learned they sent no message home to parents – something that has become standard when school employees are accused of misconduct involving students.

Fast forward to this week, when Brian Vasquez, a 34-year-old social studies teacher at Prairie Middle School, was arrested amid allegations he had sexual contact with multiple students.

Brian Vasquez's mugshot. (Photo: Aurora Police)

The district sent a message to parents of students at Prairie Middle and nearby Overland High – utilizing e-mail and automated phone calls to reach thousands of homes.

The message read, in part: “This afternoon, a teacher at Prairie Middle School was arrested by Aurora Police. Brian Vasquez, who has been a social studies teacher at Prairie Middle School since 2011 and a Destination Imagination coach since 2012, is alleged to have had inappropriate sexual contact with one or more current or former students.”

It included a tip line (303-739-6164) for people with information about the allegations.

Aurora police officials also took the unusual step Tuesday of calling a 6 p.m. news conference to announce the arrest, and among those who addressed reporters was Superintendent Bull.

“Our greatest concern – my greatest concern – is for our students,” Bull said at that press conference.

Bull and the elder Lundie have worked together for years. Bull was the principal at Grandview High School in the mid-2000s when Leon Lundie was an assistant principal there.

Leon Lundie did not respond to a request for comment sent to his district e-mail account Wednesday afternoon.

District spokeswoman Abbe Smith denied that Broderick Lundie received any preferential treatment.

“The investigation concluded with charges related to one victim,” she said in a written statement. “The information we had at the time from police is that there was one victim. Our interest was in protecting the privacy of that victim, a student in our school. We also followed the Aurora Police Department’s lead in not issuing a press release about the arrest. The connection to another administrator in the district played no role in the decision.”

At the same time, court documents obtained by 9Wants to Know show that Aurora police detectives interviewed at least four Grandview students who had traded messages with the security guard, either through text messages or social media websites. And at least one of them may have included messages about sex and photographs – but those messages were deleted by the time detectives examined the phone.

As for the decision to participate in the press conference following Vasquez’s arrest, Smith said the district was simply following the recommendation of police officials.

“I think with the Prairie Middle School case that the concern here is that there may be more victims,” Smith told 9NEWS. “And we wanted to work with Aurora to put the word out with the phone number that people could call if they have additional information or if they know of others who have been victimized.

“Our focus was really on helping Aurora determine if there are additional victims in this case, because there was a belief that there could be additional victims.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the school where Brian Vasquez works. He is a teacher at Prairie Middle School.

Contact 9NEWS reporter Kevin Vaughan with tips about this or any story: kevin.vaughan@9news.com or 303-871-1862.

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