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Boulder Social Worker Charged With Failure to Report in Connection to Fairview QB Aidan Atkinson’s Sexual-Assault Allegations

Seen on The Denver Post.


By  SHELLY BRADBURY

A social worker who formerly worked as a counselor at Boulder’s Fairview High School was charged last month in connection with failing to alert authorities to an alleged sexual assault involving the school’s star quarterback.

Marilyn Lori, 46, was charged Oct. 29 with one count of failure to report child abuse. A female student at the school told Lori in October 2018 that she’d been sexually assaulted by quarterback Aidan Atkinson during homecoming that year, but Lori never reported the allegation to law enforcement as required by state law, according to an arrest affidavit from the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office.

Atkinson turned himself in to police Friday on assault charges; the incident was reported to law enforcement by two other school employees on Aug. 30.

On Monday, a judge gave Atkinson a personal recognizance bond and scheduled him for a preliminary hearing in January, the Daily Camera reported. Atkinson committed the alleged assault when he was a juvenile, but he was booked into the Boulder County jail as an adult because he since has turned 18.

The female student told authorities she’d been drinking on homecoming night and she was on a “party bus” when she sat beside Atkinson. She said she couldn’t stand up because she was intoxicated and said Atkinson started to touch her sexually, the arrest affidavit said.

“I told him to stop because I didn’t like it,” the victim told authorities, according to the affidavit. She added later, “I couldn’t escape or leave, and no one was helping. There were people around who saw and didn’t do anything.”

The female student, whose identity was redacted in the affidavit, said Atkinson assaulted her again at a restaurant later that night even though she repeatedly told him to stop.

The student went to the school’s counseling office in October 2018 and reported the incident to Lori, according to the affidavit.

The student said Lori made a “big deal” out of the fact that she’d been drinking that night and the student said she felt discouraged from reporting the allegations to anyone else.

Lori told the student they would “talk about it again soon,” according to the affidavit, but the student never heard from the counselor again.

Lori’s notes from the visit confirmed the face-to-face meeting happened at school and say that Lori encouraged the student to report the assault to her parents or to law enforcement. The notes said the student would follow up with Lori about the incident and said the student was given information about how to obtain additional mental health support, according to the affidavit.

Lori did not immediately return a request for comment Monday. Her attorney, James Merson, declined to comment.

Lori was employed by Mental Health Partners, a nonprofit organization that provides mental health services in the Boulder area, and was embedded at Fairview High School as part of a team of mental health professionals, spokeswoman Kristina Shaw said Monday. Lori is no longer an employee, Shaw said. She declined to say when Lori left the organization or whether she was fired, but said Lori did not follow Mental Health Partners’ policies.

“During her time at Fairview, she did not follow our mandatory reporting policies, which are in line with the state statutes,” Shaw said. She added later that Lori committed an “error” that Mental Health Partners takes “very seriously.”

“This is not normal for Mental Health Partners,” she said.

Randy Barber, chief communications officer for Boulder Valley School District, said Monday that Lori was not a district employee and that she operated separately from the district. “To our knowledge, the administrators at Fairview took immediate action after they were informed of what happened,” he said.

Barber added that Lori was assigned to Fairview last school year, but left the job sometime in the second semester.