“Team TTH” was an explicit proclamation of support for the three students, ages 14-16, facing felony charges in a Feb. 16 sexual assault on a 13-year-old fellow student in Denver.
The alleged assailants, whose initials appeared on the T-shirt, will not return to classes this school year.
“The T-shirt incident occurred Friday,” said Darryl Farrington, the Norwood School District’s Denver-based attorney. “School officials made sure the T-shirts were removed, and have prohibited any student from wearing them in the future.
“I was told that the Town Marshal has spoken with the students and families involved. The school administrators acted appropriately in this matter.”
San Miguel County Sheriff’s officers “are actively involved with the Norwood Marshal’s Office, looking into that incident and other allegations,” that department’s Operations Commander Eric Berg said Tuesday, when queried about the T-shirt incident.
The Norwood School Board is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, May 15, when it is expected to act on contract renewals, including one for Principal Tom LaFramboise.
LaFramboise, who is also the school’s football coach, persisted in the face of resistance from the school board and administrators in reporting to police the Feb. 16 incident that led to the filing of felony sexual assault and kidnapping charges against the three alleged assailants.
The Colorado Child Protection Act of 1987 requires school employees with reason to believe that a child in their care has been assaulted to report their suspicions, in writing and orally, to county authorities.
Persons with knowledge of the situation told The Watch that LaFramboise would not have his contract renewed.
“That’s not correct,” Farrington said last week, when asked to confirm that LaFramboise was out. “I don’t know what that decision is going to be,” Farrington continued.
The three boys were charged as juveniles in Denver, on April 27, with second-degree kidnapping, sexual assault and false imprisonment. According to the Denver District Attorney's office, the kidnapping and sexual assault charges “would be class two felonies if committed by an adult,” while the false imprisonment charge would be a class two misdemeanor, if committed by an adult.
“When we are presented with the results of an investigation, we look at the facts and the evidence, and we compare those with what the state law says,” Denver D.A. Communications Director Lynn Kimbrough said in an interview with The Watch.
“In this particular case, the facts that were presented called for the charges that were filed.”
Kimbrough added, “It is my understanding that the investigation overall is still ongoing.”
Under the juvenile justice system, a juvenile who pleads guilty or is convicted of a class two felony could, Kimbrough said, face anything from juvenile probation up to a two-year sentence in an out-of-home juvenile detention facility. She went on to say that the juvenile process differs from the adult process in that it is not designed to be punitive but, rather, rehabilitative.
The 14-year-old in the case, the disposition of which could take several months, is charged with one additional count of sexual assault. The three boys, arrested following an investigation by the Denver Police Department that brought officers to Norwood in early April, are more specifically charged with unlawful seizure and carrying the victim from one place to another and inflicting “sexual intrusion for the purpose of abuse.”
The T-shirts were made at a Norwood establishment specializing in “uniforms, custom embroidery, banners, clothing…” according to an internet listing.
A source close to the case says one student who wore a "Team TTH" T-shirt at the Friday barbecue is the son of a teacher in the Norwood schools.
Norwood Schools Superintendent Dave Crews did not return phone calls.