LONGMONT — A Longmont teenager accused of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old Milliken boy in April will not return to Silver Creek Middle/Senior High School this year.
At a hearing Wednesday morning at the Boulder County Justice Center, the 15-year-old boy’s parents told the judge they had decided not to put their son back in the public school system. The hearing was held to allow the teen’s family and the school district to present to a judge a plan to allow the teen to attend Silver Creek, while keeping other students safe.
Kathy Novosad, the mother of the victim, said she is elated about the family’s decision.
She held a news conference at the justice center Wednesday morning to plead with the judge and the St. Vrain Valley School District “to keep this kid from going to public school,” she said. “These kids need to be protected.”
The developmentally disabled teen was on a school field trip to the Longmont Recreation Center in April, under the supervision of a paraprofessional and Silver Creek’s special education teacher, when the incident with Novosad’s son happened, according to Longmont Police reports.
The school personnel allowed the teen to go to the men’s locker room by himself.
According to police interviews with the victim, the boy thought the teen worked for the rec center.
“The man asked (him) to go with him and took him to a bathroom stall. The man then locked the stall door and put his hand down (the boy’s) swim trunks,” the report stated.
While investigating the incident, Longmont Police found three other cases in which the teen was involved in sexual contact with minors, one in Boulder County, one in Lafayette and another case in Longmont.
Because the teen is developmentally disabled and was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a neurobiological and social disorder that resembles autism, he has never been prosecuted for his behavior, Novosad said.
The 15-year-old’s father said the courts will continue to monitor his son’s progress.
The judge set another hearing for Nov. 5 to see what plans the parents have made to educate their son.
In the meantime, the father is looking into a therapeutic treatment facility in Illinois for his son.
“I’ve spoken with them on the phone. They may be able to initiate treatment that lasts less than a year and they have follow-up therapy for three years,” the teen’s father said. “The only thing keeping me from doing it right away is they don’t have space for him, and I need to secure funding.”
The Illinois facility costs more than $100,000 a year, the father said.
The judge has ordered that the teen be under the 24-hour supervision of his father, and the 15-year-old will be taught at home through the St. Vrain Valley School District. A teacher will come to the family’s home “until we find some placement for (our son),” he said.
Novosad said she still plans to file a civil lawsuit against the school district, the special education teacher and the paraprofessional for their role in the assault on her son at the recreation center.
She and a group of supporters attended Wednesday evening’s St. Vrain Valley Board of Education meeting to express their concerns about how the district handled the case and to request the board look into the district’s policies regarding students who are sexual predators.
Harrison Jarvis, a spokesman from Ben’s Army, a nonprofit group that advocates for children who have been sexually abused, told the board that school districts are not taking juvenile sex assault crimes seriously and that they “focus on the educational needs of the predator and not the needs of the victim.”
He asked the board to “not allow violent sexual predators back into the district.”
Paula Aven Gladych can be reached at 303-684-5211 or firstname.lastname@example.org.