Denver school employee accused of looking through girls’ cellphones for ‘sexual gratification’

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(Photo: Denver Police Department)

(Photo: Denver Police Department)

DENVER -- A Denver Public Schools employee has been arrested for being a modern day peeping Tom. Kendall Robertson is accused of allegedly using girls’ cellphones for his own gratification.

FOX31 Denver Problem Solvers have confirmed the employee at Collegiate Prep has been charged with a misdemeanor sex crime against students.

According to public records, Robertson, 24, identified by Denver Public Schools as a staff member and athletic coach, was arrested and charged last month.

He reportedly trolled through some female students' cellphones looking for inappropriate pictures and videos. Police say he then used his findings to target high school students with sexual harassment.

Details of what allegedly occurred inside a Collegiate Prep High School detention room are uncomfortably graphic.

Perhaps the wording of the charge says enough: Invasion of privacy for sexual gratification.

An arrest warrant said a teenage female student “serving time in In-School Suspension” complained that Robertson searched her cellphone without permission and watched “private things” -- embarrassing, explicit videos.

According to the arrest warrant, Robertson then “showed her a cartoon of two people having sex” and propositioned her, leaving his private number in her phone.

Two weeks earlier, police say another female student at Collegiate Prep complained about similar behavior. In that case Robertson had allegedly “grabbed her cellphone, without her permission, and found a picture she had taken of herself in just her bra.”

FOX31 Problem Solvers knocked on Robertson’s door for comment. Someone peeked out the window, but failed to answer. A card was left but no return call.

Robertson is also listed as Colorado Youth Leadership Coordinator for the nonprofit Young Adults for Positive Action. As of the time of this release, his picture and DPS school email address remained on YAPA’s website.

YAPA touts its mission as providing “the youth of metropolitan Denver with the tools and marketable skills necessary to ensure their success into the 21st Century.”

Its founder is Charles Robertson, a former Denver Parks director who was indicted in 2001 for embezzlement from the City and County of Denver. Public records show Kendall Robertson is a relative of Charles Robertson’s.

When FOX31 Problem Solvers went to visit YAPA to see if the organization was aware it was employing a person charged with a sex crime, it was discovered YAPA offices were inside a Denver Public School: Yhe PUSH Academy. Charles Robertson’s wife, Angela Robertson, is listed as principal.

YAPA staff initially said Charles Robertson was in his office but later said he had gone out a side door without comment.

FOX31 Denver also called Denver School Board member Landi Taylor for comment. Taylor is listed as “co-chair” of YAPA. He did not return a phone message.

Criminal defense attorney Terry O’Malley said the “invasion of privacy for sexual gratification” law is a relatively new statute. In 2010 the unlawful sexual contact law was broken into segments to better reflect modern technology including cellphones and hidden cameras.

O’Malley said for a school employee to be charged under that law, even if they are later found not guilty, is going to likely put them out of education for good.

“You don’t get a second chance on something like this. You better look for a new career. It’s pretty much devastating. If that word is used (sex), nobody in the system, including a principal or a school board, wants to have that individual and be liable for them,” O’Malley said.

O’Malley said those convicted under the invasion of privacy for sexual gratification do qualify for the sex offender registry.

FOX31 Denver asked DPS to comment and answer questions regarding Kendall Robertson’s charges. DPS declined.

Instead, district spokesman Douglas Schepman, sent a short written statement that read: “Kendall Robertson is employed at Collegiate Preparatory Academy as a Restorative Justice Coordinator. This assignment at CPA began on (April 7, 2015). He is also a part-time athletic coach at CPA — this assignment began in (November) 2012. He is currently on unpaid administrative leave pending investigation. Due to the pending charge and internal personnel investigation, we cannot provide additional information in this matter.”

Schepman also forwarded a copy of two letters sent home to parents of Collegiate Prep students. Neither mention a sex crime may have occurred at the school.

A May 12 letter to parents, written by Collegiate principal Martha Gustafson, read, “I would like to inform you that an employee at our school has been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for viewing content on a student’s phone without permission. The Denver Police Department and DPS Safety and Security conducted the investigation, and pending the outcome of the charge, the employee has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure. We will work closely with the Denver Police Department to receive regular updates on the status of this case.”

Gustafson is at the center of another controversy, also exposed by FOX31 Denver earlier this year.

A teacher accused Gustafson of changing nine failing physics grades from F's to D's without students doing any extra work. DPS hired an independent reviewer to investigate those claims. That report is yet to be released.