Lawsuit: Teacher sexually assaulting a child was catalyst for events leading up to Deputy Gumm’s death

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ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — For the first time, the FOX31 Problem Solvers are learning more about the events that led up to the death of Adams County Deputy Heath Gumm.

A lawsuit shows a teacher’s sexual assaults on a child sparked the fight that originally called officers to the Thornton neighborhood in January 2018.

The lawsuit calls for criminal charges against three investigators and a prosecutor in Adams County. It accuses them of ignoring sexual assault allegations.

The lawsuit shows the victim associated with the alleged sexual assaults is also a key witness in the murder of Gumm and the cousin to Dreion Dearing, the suspect facing murder charges.

Ashley Sullivan’s firm filed the lawsuit on behalf of Angelina Wright, the student who was allegedly involved with her teacher.

The lawsuit shows that an alleged sexual relationship between, at the time, a Denver Public Schools teacher and his underage student is what sparked the assault to which deputies responded.

It shows that the Wright, Dearing and two other people went to confront the teacher, Peter Aquino, after finding out he was sexually involved with an additional female.

What the lawsuit also claims is that laws were broken when investigating the killing of Gumm.

“This motion is actually asking the court to compel the DA to prosecute,” said Ashley Sullivan, Angelina Wright’s attorney.

The motion asks the court to file charges against three Adams County Sheriff’s Detectives and a deputy DA.

“People should know that the detectives who are investigating a death penalty case and the prosecutor who is seeking the death penalty have committed serious crimes of failure to report child abuse and official misconduct in the process of trying to seek the death penalty against Mr. Dearing,” Sullivan said.

In an interview with detectives, Aquino admitted to having a relationship with his student. The lawsuit claims that relationship was never reported.

“Everyone regrets the death of Deputy Gumm, but their failure to report a sexual assault isn’t excused when an officer has died. Because an officer died does not diminish the fact that she was sexually assaulted by a teacher,” Sullivan said.

The Problem Solvers have also learned that teacher was eventually charged for sexual assault on a child. The Wheat Ridge Police Department arrested him months after Gumm was killed, when Wright told her case worker what was happening.

Dearing is scheduled to be back in court on Friday for a hearing of his own.

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