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Park City School District, County Attorney resolve charges of failure to report abuse

PCSD Park City School District Building Ben
Ben Lasseter
/
KPCW

The Park City School District and Summit County Attorney’s Office have settled misdemeanor charges against the district for failing to report suspected child abuse.

Park City schools lawyer Mark Moffat and County Attorney Margaret Olson have worked to resolve the charges since they were filed in March. Tuesday, the two presented a proposal for a resolution to Justice Court Judge Shauna Kerr, which Kerr accepted.

The resolution essentially leaves the case open for the next two years while the County Attorney monitors the district’s compliance with mandatory reporting laws.

As part of that compliance, the school district agreed to supplement its annual employee training on suspected abuse reporting, to follow all reporting laws and to cooperate with any investigations into suspected abuse or neglect.

The joint press release said neither side would comment on the resolution.

A portion of the resolution deals with the actual cases of suspected abuse that were not originally reported to authorities. The county attorney’s office said it found after investigating those that none of them ended up being substantiated cases of abuse.

Utah law requires any person who has reason to believe a child may be a victim of abuse or neglect to immediately report it to the Division of Child and Family Services or law enforcement.

Settling the case avoids a possible $3,000 fine if the district had been convicted. The justice court settlement does not impact civil lawsuits.

When she filed the charges, Olson called the Park City School District’s failure to report alleged incidents of child abuse a “systemic and institutional failure” and an “intentional disregard” of the legal duty to report.

The resolution says that investigations revealed "no credible evidence that any individual within the school district’s administration or school board instructed district employees NOT to report child abuse."

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.