DENVER — Four Colorado teachers who have been charged with or convicted of sexual assault on a child have had their licenses suspended by the State Board of Education.
Christopher Adams-Wenger, a music teacher at Union Colony Prep School in Weld County, is charged with exchanging more than 40,000 sexually explicit text messages with a minor girl. According to school documents, it started as an inappropriate social friendship.
Brittany Von Stein from Basalt High School in Pitkin County is charged for what started as an inappropriate social friendship and promptly became sexual.
Richard Alan Davis, a teacher and track coach at Greeley West High School, is accused of, “poor professional boundaries and being touchy with female student athletes.”
Sarah Elise Porter, a teacher and track coach at Arapahoe High School in the south metro area, “grabbed a student’s genitals and threatened she would do something if he did not cooperate.” Porter was recently sentenced to 10 years of sex offenders intensive probation and 90 days in jail.
The FOX31 Problem Solvers spoke with Colleen O’Neil with the State Department of Education. She says the incidents are “flagrantly against the better judgement of themselves and the needs for the kids.”
The criminal charges all include “sex assault against a child” by a “person of trust.”
“They actually take the place of parents when they come into schools. And so those are people in a position of trust,” O’Neil said.
Susie Roman is with the “Blue Bench,” a Denver-based organization which aims to “eliminate sexual assault and diminish the impact it has on individuals, their loved ones and our community through comprehensive issue advocacy, prevention and care.”
Roman says the “person of trust” charge is extremely important.
“What’s happening is sexual violence. It’s not consensual sex,” Roman said.
Roman explains as a “parent figure” in the classroom, the teacher is responsible for the care, safety and well-being of the child — a position of trust.
“So they can’t enter into a sexual relationship with someone where they have some sort of power over that young person’s life and their safety and well-being,” Roman said.
Everyone the Problem Solvers spoke to says sex assaults on students by teachers is an ongoing problem. To have four teachers’ licenses suspended in just one board meeting some say seems egregious but nonetheless everyone agrees on one thing: no matter the circumstances, it’s never the student’s fault.
“It’s never the young person’s fault if that person in a position of trust chooses to do that,” Roman said.