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County attorney says abuse in PCSD lawsuit unsubstantiated; no criminal charges coming

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Park City School District
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Park City School District offices

A Park City family filed a lawsuit in federal court last week against the Park City School District alleging sexual abuse of a student. The county attorney’s office said it had investigated and found no evidence of abuse.

The lawsuit alleges that the elementary school-aged student was sexually abused by a principal, and the incident was not reported to authorities. The student’s family also claims the school district retaliated against them after they raised concerns and did not provide required special education services.

The lawsuit is seeking to have specific employees removed from the campus where the incident allegedly occurred. The suit also asks for reimbursement of medical and transportation expenses and attorney’s and tutoring fees, along with bullying protection and mental health services.

It also seeks math and science instruction be made available in English at the school where the incident allegedly occurred. That school is a dual-immersion language campus, which is a state-supported program in which students spend half their days with one teacher learning in English and the other half with a different teacher learning in a second language.

Criminal charges will not be filed in the incident. Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson told KPCW Friday that her office had investigated the claim and found it to be unsubstantiated. She said that there is no evidence to warrant criminal charges in this case or other cases of suspected abuse her office has investigated that were initially not reported to authorities.

KPCW is not naming the school district employee, who has not been charged with a crime, or the family, to protect the student’s privacy.

The family’s lawsuit stems from one of several cases of unreported suspected abuse that led Olson’s office to file misdemeanor charges against the district in March. The district was charged with three misdemeanor counts of failing to report child abuse, which is a violation of mandatory reporting laws.

When she filed those charges, Olson asked anyone who had previously reported child abuse to report it again. Olson, Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter, and Summit County Sheriff Justin Martinez then led a training session for all school district employees in mandatory reporting.

The school district and county attorney’s office are now working on a settlement of those charges.

Michelle, who joined KPCW in 2021, arrived in Utah in 2018 by way of Massachusetts, where the skiing was icy and the mosquitoes formidable. A former daily newspaper reporter and editor (at the Visalia Times-Delta in CA) and columnist (at The Cohasset Mariner in MA), Michelle has been a writer and editor for decades. She holds a journalism degree from CSU Fresno and has worked as a journalist, freelance writer and web content creator, reporting extensively on education and youth along with general assignment and breaking news.