BROOMFIELD, Colo. — A former teacher at a Commerce City elementary school has been charged with 11 counts of sexual assault on a child after a 19-month investigation, it was announced Tuesday.
Gilbert Joseph Trujillo, 65, is accused of sexually assaulting five girls from August 2005 to May 2011 when they were students at Dupont Elementary School (7970 Kimberly St.), the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said.
Investigators said the girls were in fourth and fifth grades, and 9 and 10 years old when the alleged assaults occurred. The investigation began in November 2013.
Trujillo is charged with one count of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust as a pattern of abuse, five counts of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust and five counts of sexual assault on a child.
He was taken into custody Monday, advised of the charges Tuesday and is due back in court at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. He is being held on $200,000 bond.
Ashley Kuntz was one of Gilbert Trujillo’s students. She showed pictures her former teacher gave her of himself when she was in fifth grade.
“I didn’t hink anything of it other than I was being appreciated and liked by somebody,” she said.
Ashley’s mother, Winona Garrett, believes Trujillo began grooming her daughter with expensive gifts in hopes of one day taking the next step.
“I didn’t think it was appropriate,” she said.
Garrett complained to the school before that happened. She was the first to alert the school about Trujillo’s behavior in 2007.
During the next five years, the school received many more complaints, eventually allowing Trujillo to resign and then rehiring him.
“Just knowing that could’ve been me is scary,” Ashley said.
Despite all the complaints the Adams County School District 14 received, an affidavit shows police weren’t notified and didn’t start an investigation until 2013.
When asked why it took so long to let police know, Adams 14 officials declined to answer. Garrett believes quicker action might have stopped Trujillo.
“Her staying after school a lot he could have had many opportunities. I’m just glad she was safe,” she said.