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Ex-Fairview football player sentenced to jail in sex assault case

4 min read

A former football player at Fairview High School was sentenced to 90 days in jail and two years of probation, the maximum allowed by juvenile law, in connection with two sexual assault cases.

The defendant, who is currently in his early 20s but was charged as a juvenile, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in one case and was found guilty of attempted unlawful sexual contact in a separate case.

The Daily Camera is not naming the defendant because was charged as a juvenile in both cases.

On Friday, Boulder District Judge Andrew Hartman sentenced the defendant to two years of probation and 90 days in jail, the maximum allowed for someone who was charged as a juvenile but sentenced after turning 18.

The juvenile was remanded into the custody of the Boulder County Jail to begin serving his sentence.

“My hands are, I would not say tied, but guided by the interest of the juvenile justice system as opposed to the criminal justice system,” Hartman said.

But while Hartman said the juvenile system is more geared toward rehabilitation, he did feel that a punitive sanction was appropriate “in the interest of justice.”

Hartman said that while the defendant did plead guilty, his statements during his pre-sentence interviews indicated he was still in denial and did not understand the impact of his actions.

“During the psycho-sexual evaluation, he did not take accountability when he had the opportunity to,” Hartman said. “All of this shows that the juvenile is not fully taking responsibility for his actions.”

The ex-student was found guilty in August of pinning a female student to a locker at Fairview High and groping her during the 2016-2017 school year.

The charges in the other case stem from allegations that he sexually assaulting a student while he and the girl were drinking alcohol in a friend’s basement during the spring of 2017.

The named victim in the case spoke to the court by remote streaming, and talked about how the aftermath of the assault saw her go from a 4.0 student to having a 50% attendance rate as she dealt with fear, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

“If you told me then I’d make it to 21, I would not have believed you,” she said.

But the survivor, who now goes to college out of state, said she wanted to speak Friday for those who couldn’t.

“I’m incredibly lucky to have made it this far,” she said. “I want justice, and more importantly I want other people to not experience this pain.”

Boulder Deputy District Attorney Brad Turner said other named victims could not bear to appear for the hearing, while others could not even bear to move forward with charges.

“I just ask you to consider who you are not hearing from,” Turner said.

Turner said the defendant in this case was one of the people primarily “responsible for the culture at Fairview High School that year.”

“The juvenile in this case did all of these for so long to so many people that people began to view him as having impunity, and more importantly he began to view himself with impunity,” Turner said.

The ex-football player is at least the third former student to publicly face sexual assault allegations over the last three years at Fairview, where students last year walked out in protest over the school and the district’s handling of sexual violence. The school district also settled a federal civil rights lawsuit by two victims of sexual assault who say school officials failed to protect them.

In asking for the maximum jail sentence, Turner said: “What matters to the people is what matters to the victim, what matters to the community, what matters to the high school, and that is issuing a consequence that people recognize as a real consequence.”

The defendant did make a statement to the court prior to the sentence.

“I just wanted to say that I do take responsibility for what happened when I was 15, and I’m a very changed man from then,” he said. “I’m a very changed man from 2020 when I did go to jail, and I’m ready to do whatever it takes to be a better person.”

Defense attorney Erik Fischer asked that the defendant not receive any jail time or at least be allowed to serve work release, as he has not picked up any new charges in the six years since the original allegations. Fischer also argued his defendant should not be punished for “the circus that went on at this high school.”

“He is absolutely sorry for what went on, it was a terrible situation for all these kids,” Fischer said. “I’m not trying to minimize this, I’m trying to say these are 15-year-old kids, of course they are confused.”

But Hartman said the defendant did bear responsibility for his own actions.

“There may have been contributing factors, but he must take responsibility,” Hartman said.

Hartman also called out statements made to investigators by family members of the defendant claiming the named victims were somehow conspiring to bring down the football team as “utterly detached from reality.”

“That is not what happens in sexual assault cases, what happens in sex assault cases is just what we saw here,” Hartman said referring to the named victim’s statements. “Embarrassment, delayed reporting, distrust, victim blaming.”

Hartman credited the girl who spoke for her bravery, and then further called out the adults who “failed you.”

“I hope that the healing that the juvenile (defendant) and the victims require will also be faced by the adults involved in this entirely egregious situation,” Hartman said. “There was an utter failure by the adults in the room.”

Resources:

Boulder County Movement to End Sexual Assault: 24-hour hotline, call 303-443-7300 or text BRAVE to 20121.

Safe2Tell: 1-877-542-7233 or safe2tell.org.

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