Cherry Creek School District sued for failing to protect student after sexual assault by football player

BY FREDA MIKLIN
GOVERNMENTAL REPORTER

A female student who attended Cherry Creek High School (CCHS) in Greenwood Village until she transferred to another school filed suit against the Cherry Creek School District (CCSD) on March 13 for, “failing to investigate and protect her from a hostile environment at school after she reported being sexually assaulted by a football player,” who also attended CCHS in 2022 when the assault occurred, according to a report in the Denver Post.

The lawsuit also alleges that CCSD, “repeatedly refused to open a Title IX investigation after the female student reported the 2022 assault, and failed to issue a no-contact order to prevent her from encountering the other student on campus.”

Laura Wolf, the attorney for the student, reportedly said, “It’s incredibly disappointing to see the lack of compassion and caring on the part of the Cherry Creek School District with yet another victim of sexual assault and abuse.” In April 2022, students at CCSD’s Grandview High School walked out of class and held a protest to draw attention to what they saw as the district’s inappropriate handling of sexual assault allegations against a male student there by a female student at the school.

Per the account reported on March 16, 2024, the current incident occurred in January 2022 when the football player allegedly took the girl’s telephone to get her to leave campus with him during a period they both didn’t have a class, in order to retrieve it. They went to an off-campus business where he convinced her to follow him into a bathroom to get the phone. Once inside, he locked the door and allegedly assaulted her, according to the lawsuit.

It goes on to say that the football player was charged as a juvenile and pleaded guilt to a misdemeanor count of unlawful sexual contact in 2022. In Colorado, an act committed by a juvenile that would be a crime if committed by an adult is considered an act of delinquency unless it is a class one or class two felony and the perpetrator is at least 16 years old at the time the behavior occurred.  

According to the lawsuit, the male student was reportedly, “never suspended, expelled, or kicked off of,” the football team, and the plaintiff was subjected to, “an ongoing hostile education environment,” because she did not know when she might run into the male student in classes, hallways, or other school situations.” 

It also talks about a “toxic culture…of deliberate indifference,” of CCSD administrators,” due to their, “failure to respond adequately and with appropriate speed…to reports of sexual harassment and abuse…especially when male student-athletes,” are the individuals accused.

The Villager reached out to CCSD Chief Communication Officer Abbe Smith for a response to the report of the incident. She told us, “We take these kinds of allegations very seriously and respond quickly to address them. When we first learned of the allegation, we followed all required Title IX procedures, and it was determined that this matter did not implicate Title IX because it happened off campus.

She continued, “Because it did not implicate Title IX, it was handled by law enforcement. We cannot discuss details regarding students involved or actions taken due to privacy protections for students. However, we disagree with the allegations being made in the lawsuit.”

fmiklin.villager@gmail.com