Update: Earlier this week, we reported about the arrest of Steven Weigum, principal at Ute Meadows Elementary School in unincorporated Jefferson County, on charges of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust and aggravated incest; see our previous coverage below.
At the time, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, which is investigating the case, stressed that no past or present Ute Meadows students were thought to have been victimized.
It turns out, however, that Weigum wasn't principal at Ute Meadows when the alleged crimes took place.
Instead, in all probability, he was a principal at Bergen Valley Elementary in Evergreen — a fact that hasn't been acknowledged in a letter to parents at that facility.
Bergen Valley is a jewel in the Jefferson County School District according to CollegeSchoolGrades.com.
The site listed Bergen Valley as the number one elementary school in the entire state, awarding it an overall A+ grade.
However, Westword has been contacted by multiple parents at the school upset about the lack of outreach in regard to the Weigum case.
The sheriff's office pointed out that the crimes of which Weigum has been accused took place more than ten years ago, prior to his arrival at Ute Meadows.
That means, in all likelihood, he was at Bergen Valley during the period when prosecutors say he abused the victim — crimes that allegedly took place until she was in fourth or fifth grade.
A $50,000 bond was ordered in the case on Wednesday, and Weigum reportedly was armed at the time of his arrest — and had so many pills in his system that his stomach had to be pumped.
Jefferson County School District spokeswoman Lisa Pinto confirms that Wegium was hired as a Bergen Valley principal on July 18, 2001 and left on July 24, 2006 to take over as the head administrator at Ute Meadows.
Pinto confirms that Bergen Valley parents haven't received a letter about the Wegium case, as did those with kids at Ute Meadows. However, she says the Bergen Valley principals have been informed about the situation and are prepared to respond if they receive parent inquiries.
That's not good enough for at least one parent who reached out to Westword. The e-mail reads in part, "I find it really upsetting that the assaults happened when he was principal at Bergen Valley and no one is acknowledging that."
Continue for our previous coverage.
Original post, 7:42 a.m. March 11: All crimes impact people beyond the immediate victims.
Friends, family, loved ones and others even more tangentially connected can feel the effect.
But the ripples from alleged offenses at schools can spread even further, as I was reminded when news broke that Steven Weigum, principal at Ute Meadows Elementary School in unincorporated Jefferson County, had been arrested on suspicion of child-sex assault and more.
Why? Ute Meadows is my neighborhood elementary school, located a few short blocks from my house. All three of my children attended there, and while Weigum wasn't principal during their era, they were as disturbed by the arrest as if he had been.
Moreover, the children of others close to me were enrolled during the time period when Weigum was the school's top administrator — and their parents, many of whom had positive interactions with him, were positively floored by the revelations.
Of course, the accusations against Weigum have not yet been proven, and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office stresses that there's no evidence at this point that any Ute Meadows students past or present were victimized by the principal.
According to the JCSO, the alleged crimes took place more than ten years ago and apparently involved a family member, given that one of the charges on which Weigum is being held without bond, in addition to sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust and a pattern of such abuse, is aggravated incest.
Still, the ties to a school can be so close that emotions among the greater Ute Meadows community continue to run high, as we know from firsthand experience. My kids' names are stamped on a commemorative brick in the school's courtyard. Their handprints are among those on a colorful wall display in the playground. And when my wife and I go for walks, we frequently stroll through the school grounds, past classrooms where we had conferences at every level and through the area where the annual Field Day event filled the air with sounds of delight.
No doubt the laughter of children will return, hopefully as soon as today. But for now, the possibility that the Ute Meadows principal harbored dark secrets is unsettling for everyone with any association with the school.
Weigum is expected to make his first court appearance at 10 a.m. today. Look below to see his booking photo, followed by a Fox31 report.Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
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