A mental health worker embedded at Fairview High School has been charged with failing to report accusations against quarterback Aidan Atkinson following a 2018 party bus incident that would later lead to sexual assault charges being filed against the senior, who received a $25,000 personal recognizance bond Monday.
Atkinson, 18, is charged with three charges of sexual assault, one charge of attempted sexual assault, and five charges of unlawful sexual contact after police say he sexually assaulted multiple young women on a party bus in September 2018.
But according to an affidavit obtained by the Daily Camera, a 46-year-old mental health professional named Marilyn Lori was charged last month with failing to report child abuse or neglect in relation to the case. A warrant for her arrest was signed Oct. 29.
While the affidavit is redacted, officials close to the investigation have confirmed the charges are related to Atkinson’s arrest.
The Daily Camera does not typically name defendants in juvenile cases, but is in this case due to the serious nature of the allegations and because the defendant is now an adult and his arrest is a matter of public record.
In the affidavit, police say a student reported the incident to a school resource officer in August. But according to police, the student had tried to report the incident a year ago to Lori, who was embedded at the school in 2018 through Mental Health Partners.
The student reportedly told Lori she was on the party bus for homecoming in 2018. She said she became too drunk to stand and sat next to Atkinson, who began to sexually touch her. The girl said she told Atkinson to stop and that others saw what was happening but did not intervene, and the girl said Atkinson’s behavior continued at a restaurant.
But according to the affidavit, the student said Lori instead made a “big deal” about her alcohol consumption on the night and made the student discouraged to talk about the incident further.
The student told police Lori never followed up with her on the matter.
According to the affidavit, police found Lori made a note of the report in an inquiry file at Mental Health Partners in October 2018, but never made a police report, which she was obligated to do as a social worker or mental health professional.
Kristina Shaw, marketing director and public information officer with Mental Health Partners, confirmed on Monday that Lori was an employee who was embedded with Fairview High School as part of a partnership with the Boulder Valley School District.
“We have clinicians embedded in different high schools,” Shaw said. “(Lori) was an MHP employee but was working out of Fairview. It’s pretty common.”
Shaw said Lori is no longer with Mental Health Partners, though she could not give any other details of Lori’s exit. But Shaw did confirm that Lori “did not follow Mental Health Partners policy, which is also state policy.”
Lori is set for a hearing on the case on Dec. 13 and is free on a $2,500 personal recognizance bond, according to court records.
Lori’s attorney James Merson declined to comment on the case Monday.
Boulder Valley School District spokesman Randy Barber said the district and respective schools do not supervise Mental Health Partners’ embedded workers, and said Lori has not worked at the school at all in the 2019 academic year. He said the district is aware of the allegations against Lori and is cooperating with law enforcement.
Barber said that allegations against Atkinson were reported to Boulder police as soon as Boulder Valley staff became aware of them this fall, but said the district was not previously aware of what the student reportedly told Lori in 2018.
“Safety is our top priority,” Barber said. “Our expectation is staff members take immediate action if they become aware of allegations on or off campus.
“We really take the responsibility to report child abuse and neglect very seriously.”
Atkinson on Monday made his first appearance in custody in Boulder District Court, where his parents were also present.
After a conference at the bench with Boulder Deputy District Attorney Jessica Dotter and Atkinson’s attorney Lara Marks Baker, Boulder District Chief Judge Ingrid Bakke gave Atkinson a $25,000 personal recognizance bond.
A personal recognizance bond means Atkinson will not have to put up any bond money up front, though his parents will have to cosign the bond.
Bakke added that Atkinson must have no contact with any of the named victims or witnesses and have no unsupervised contact with any females under 18. But Bakke said any school safety plans would supersede the bond conditions.
Barber said Atkinson is being placed in “an appropriate alternative educational opportunity until the court proceedings are complete.”
“We do believe in due process for the accused, but we in no way do we condone the alleged behavior,” Barber said.
Baker declined to comment on the case following the hearing.
Atkinson is now scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 6, at which time a judge would have to determine if there is enough evidence for the case to proceed.
According to a release from Boulder police, a suspect sexually assaulted multiple female victims — all of them also juveniles — on a party bus in Boulder. While the release did not identify Atkinson as the suspect because he was a juvenile at the time of the offense, Boulder County Jail records indicated Atkinson is the suspect.
Anyone with more information on this case or who thinks they also were victims of a crime are asked to contact Boulder police Detective Kara Wills at 303-441-3482 or Detective Sarah Cantu at 303-441-4382.
Those who wish to remain anonymous can contact Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or visit nococrimestoppers.com.
Atkinson, a senior, set state records for touchdowns and passing yards while playing for Fairview, and committed to play college football in 2020 at Northwestern University, which has not commented on the matter.
Atkinson did not play in Fairview’s final game of the season, a loss to Cherry Creek on Friday, and coach Tom McCartney did not comment on the matter after the game.