Kent Denver oral-sex case: Possible lawsuit over student expelled but not charged with crime

Back in February, we told you about a Vail sex assault investigation targeting three Kent Denver students. The trio in question evaded criminal charges in the case, but the story's not over. None of the three is returning to the exclusive, ultra-pricey private school, and the father of an expelled student is threatening legal action in the case, which involves disputed claims of coerced oral sex.

The story comes to us from CBS4's Brian Maass, who obtained "hundreds of pages of police reports, photos, text messages, videos and documents related to the case," not to mention the cooperation of the aforementioned dad, speaking anonymously.

The report quotes a sixteen-year-old female Kent student who says she was in Vail for New Year's Eve when she ran into three male enrollees at the school and joined them at the hot tub in a hotel/condo complex. The boys were naked in the hot tub, and she joined them "because I was cold," she told detectives. "And so I took my shirt off and they all kind of ganged up on me a little bit there...and they kind of took my pants off and so I just had my underwear on, so I got in the hot tub.... I kind of figured I was getting into a bad situation. And they tried to help me take my pants off but I didn't want them touching me so I obviously took my own pants off."

Her bra followed -- but she subsequently donned a jacket and towel and split to meet a female friend before returning to grab her clothes. At that point, she claimed one of the boys took her into a towel room and said the price for retrieving her attire was oral sex.

She admitted to performing the act, only to leave again without her clothes -- and when she returned for them a second time, she said the boys told her she couldn't leave until she did the oral routine with another of the students. And then, her account continues, the scenario was repeated a third time before she finally was allowed to get her outfit and flee.

The girl stressed that the sex wasn't consensual, saying, "I just felt a little bullied into, like, things I didn't want to do." But even she admitted that the male students may have felt otherwise, especially since "I was kind of, like, kissing them." There was also disagreement over whether the boys were inebriated or not; the girl said she'd had a single vodka earlier in the evening. And that's not to mention a polygraph one male student is said to have passed and a text message the girl sent to another student that read, "But u shouldn't have gotten so drunk because I wanted to hook up! But I have this issue with taking advantage of my drunk friends:) eek."

Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert, who wound up in the national spotlight back in 2003 over the Kobe Bryant sex-crime accusations, eventually chose not to file criminal charges against any of the male students, believing that he could not prove a crime had occurred beyond a reasonable doubt. But two of the boys decided not to return to Kent -- and are apparently party to non-disparagement agreements involving the school -- while the third was expelled.

The father of the latter thinks that while the boys made poor ethical decisions, they didn't do anything criminal, and suggests that the girl cooked up the tale. "She probably was embarrassed to be with multiple boys over the course of an evening," he told Maass. "Somebody found out about it and perhaps she felt bad about it and got caught up in this story."

As for a possible lawsuit, he said, "We have to move towards litigation. How do I fix this? This is simply not fair. We can't let them get away with it. We've got to stand up and hold this up to public scrutiny. I want to seek some sort of exoneration for my son. By throwing them out implies guilt. The school has basically branded him and I have to try to undo that."

If that happens, the situation around the elite school could get mighty ugly might fast. To get the rest of the story, click here.

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More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Kent Denver students under investigation for Vail sex assault."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts