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Park City School District charged with failing to report child abuse (updated)

Ben Lasseter

The Summit County Attorney’s Office charged the Park City School District on Monday with failing to report three different incidents of child abuse.

The charges allege the district failed to report to law enforcement two separate student allegations of rape and one allegation of a district employee inappropriately touching a student.

In a statement accompanying the charges, the County Attorney’s office asks parents who have reported abuse or neglect to the school district in the past to re-report the allegations to state Child Protective Services or Summit County dispatch.

"Parents and the public need to be aware that if an allegation of child abuse or neglect was reported to Park City School District schools in the past, that allegation may not have been reported to the proper authorities and may not have been properly investigated,” the statement says.

PCSD Superintendent Jill Gildea did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did an attorney who has represented the district in the past.

Erin Grady, president of the Park City Board of Education, said in a prepared statement the district is looking into the charges and will respond to them through legal counsel. She said the board fully supports the superintendent.

“We take these allegations seriously and as always prioritize the safety of our students so that they can reach their academic and social potential,” the statement says. “We ask that the public is respectful of the district administration and allows this process to play out before assuming any negligence or bad intent.”

The charges allege the three incidents were reported to district employees, but those employees did not report the allegations to law enforcement.

State lawrequires an individual who has reason to believe a child is or has been the subject of abuse or neglect to immediately report it to the Division of Child and Family Services or law enforcement.

In one 2019 incident, the charges allege a parent met with two district employees and told them that the parent’s child said one of those two employees touched the child’s genitals.

The charges allege the two employees reported the incident to the superintendent’s office, but did not report it to law enforcement or Child Protective Services.

The district did not say whether that employee was still employed by PCSD or if the allegations were investigated.

According to the charges, more than two years later, a medical professional treating the child heard the allegations and reported them to law enforcement. The charges allege Gildea knew of the 2019 allegations but did not know whether they had been reported to law enforcement.

According to the charging document, Gildea said it’s the parents’ responsibility to report allegations of child abuse and denied further inquiries by saying she wasn’t working at the district in 2019.

Gildea started as superintendent Aug. 1, 2018, according to the district website.

In addition to not reporting the incident to law enforcement, the charges allege there is no evidence the district investigated the allegations, though the charges note it’s not the district’s responsibility to do so.

Investigators learned of another incident earlier this month. The filing says the district received a report in December alleging that a female student had been raped by a fellow student. That incident was not reported to law enforcement or Child Protective Services.

According to the charges, a district employee interviewed both students and then held a mediation with the parents and children involved in the allegation. Law enforcement officers did not learn of the alleged rape until it came to light during a separate investigation.

In another incident, a parent told law enforcement officers that their male child had previously been raped by a fellow student. That parent learned of the allegation from a district employee. The charges allege the employee did not notify Child Protective Services or law enforcement.

The district has been charged as a party to three class B misdemeanors, each carrying the potential penalty of a $1,000 fine. No defense attorney was listed as of Monday afternoon.

The release says the Park City Police Department, Summit County Sheriff’s Office and County Attorney’s office continue to investigate the Park City School District.

The charges state that several district employees have cooperated with the investigation, while one has not.

Updated: March 21, 2022 at 3:35 PM MDT
This story has been updated with comment from the Park City Board of Education.
Alexander joined KPCW in 2021 after two years reporting on Summit County for The Park Record. While there, he won many awards for covering issues ranging from school curriculum to East Side legacy agriculture operations to land-use disputes. He arrived in Utah by way of Madison, Wisconsin, and western Massachusetts, with stints living in other areas across the country and world. When not attending a public meeting or trying to figure out what a PID is, Alexander enjoys skiing, reading and watching the Celtics.