A former Fairview High School football player who was charged with two sexual assaults got the maximum sentence for a teen, which was 90 days in jail and two years of probation.
The defendant, who is now in his early 20s but was accused as a juvenile, entered a guilty plea to attempted unlawful sexual contact in one case and was found guilty of second-degree assault in another.
Because the defendant was charged as a juvenile in both cases, The Daily Camera will not name him or her.
Judge Andrew Hartman of the Boulder District Court gave the defendant two years of probation and 90 days in jail on Friday. This is the maximum sentence that can be given to a person who was charged as a minor but got a sentence after they turned 18.
The teen was sent back to the custody of the Boulder County Jail to start serving his sentence.
Rather than being constrained, Hartman stated, “My hands are guided by the interests of the juvenile justice system as opposed to the criminal justice system.”
Hartman did think that a harsh sentence was needed “in the interest of justice,” even though he knew that the juvenile system is more focused on helping kids get better.
Although the defendant entered a guilty plea, according to Hartman, his pre-sentence interviews revealed that he was still in denial and unaware of the consequences of his acts.
He missed his chance to accept responsibility during the psycho-sexual evaluation, according to Hartman. All of this shows that the young person is not taking full responsibility for his actions.
The ex-student was found guilty in August of touching a female Fairview High student as she was pinned to a locker during the 2016–2017 academic year.
The charges in the other instance stem from claims that he sexually assaulted a student in the spring of 2017 while he and the girl were imbibing in a friend’s basement.
The named victim of the case showed up in court through remote streaming and talked about how she went from being a 4.0 student to having a 50% attendance rate as she dealt with fear, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts as a result of the attack.
She stated, “If you had told me then that I’d love to be 21, I wouldn’t have believed you.”
However, the survivor, who is currently attending college outside of her state, stated that she wanted to speak on Friday for others who couldn’t.
“I’m very fortunate to have gotten this far,” she said. “I want justice, but more than that, I want to stop other people from going through this suffering.”
Other named victims, according to Boulder Deputy District Attorney Brad Turner, could not bear to attend the court, and some could not even bear to have their cases moved forward.
Turner stated, “I just want you to think about who you are not hearing from.”
Turner said that the defendant in this case was one of the people who was “most responsible for the culture at Fairview High School that year.”
“The juvenile, in this case, did all of the things for so long to so many individuals that people started to think he was getting away with it, and more significantly, he started to think he was getting away with it,” Turner said.
At Fairview, where students staged a walkout last year to protest the school and how the district dealt with sexual abuse, the ex-football player is at least the third former student to face charges of sexual assault in public in the last three years. In a federal civil rights complaint, two people who had been sexually assaulted at school said that school officials had not done enough to protect them. Recently, the school district reached a settlement with those two people.
Turner stated that “what matters to the people is what matters to the victim, what matters to the community, and what matters to the high school, and that is issuing a consequence that people recognize as a true consequence” when requesting the worst jail sentence possible.
Prior to the sentence, the defendant did give a statement to the court.
I do accept responsibility for what happened when I was 15, and I’m a very different man now,” he said. I’ve undergone a significant transformation since I was imprisoned in 2020, and I’m prepared to go to any lengths to change for the better.
Erik Fischer, the defendant’s defense attorney, argued that since the original allegations were made six years ago, the defendant has not been charged again and should not spend any jail time or even work release. Additionally, Fischer said that his client shouldn’t be punished because of “the circus that went on at this high school.”
It was a terrible circumstance for all of these kids, and he is sincerely sorry,” Fischer added. “These are 15-year-old youngsters, of course, they are confused,” the speaker said, “I’m not trying to belittle this.”
However, according to Hartman, the accused was accountable for his own acts.
He must accept responsibility, Hartman said, even though there may have been contributing factors.
Hartman also said that the defendant’s family members’ claims to investigators that the named victims were planning to bring down the football team were “completely out of touch with reality.”
In response to the remarks made by the named victim, Hartman said, “That is not what occurs in sexual assault cases; what happens in sex assault cases is just what we saw here.” Embarrassment, procrastination, mistrust, and victim-blaming.
Hartman praised the bravery of the girl who spoke before further criticizing the adults who “failed you.”
I hope that the adults engaged in this wholly awful circumstance will also deal with the healing that the juvenile (defendant) and the victims need, said Hartman. The adults in the room “completely failed” in their role.
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