(MONUMENT, Colo.) — A former student from Palmer Ridge High School spoke out at a Lewis-Palmer District District 38 school board meeting, demanding answers for why nothing was done to protect students from being sexually harassed, assaulted, and even raped for four years.
At D38’s school board meeting on Monday, April 17, 18-year-old Jenna Baker accused the school district of negligence and ignoring a litany of sexual assault and harassment reports filed by students. Baker, who is currently a freshman at the University of Colorado Boulder, said she was speaking out on behalf of the women who have alleged that they were sexually harassed or assaulted, or raped by a student.
Baker was specifically referencing over 30 sexual assault and harassment allegations made against a former University of Colorado Boulder football player and Palmer Ridge High School student, Anthony “Deuce” Roberson. Almost all of these allegations stem from Roberson’s time in high school from 2016 to 2020.
“For those who don’t know, I organized a petition calling for the serial rapist Deuce Roberson, a former PR [Palmer Ridge] student, to be held accountable at a collegiate level after D38 failed to give him consequences for his behavior, despite being fully aware of it for the four years he attended,” Baker said in her opening statement.
Baker’s speech was met with resounding applause and tears from the crowd.
While Roberson attended Palmer Ridge, former students say he was one of the star football players. During his high school season, Palmer Ridge became the first team from Monument to win three straight state titles in football. Baker thinks this played a huge role in why Roberson did not face any repercussions.
The allegations against Roberson came to light in January, after he committed to CU Boulder in December 2022, as one of their newest wide receivers. Knowing his track record from high school, as soon as Baker found out about his commitment she started a petition calling for Roberson’s expulsion.
Three months after the university was first made aware of these allegations, the school released a statement on April 11, saying that Roberson was no longer with the football team.
“There are several people who have come forward in the past 4+ years and none of their cases have ever caught on… The fact that he still went on to have a career after all the admin was made aware of this, is disgusting to me,” said another former Palmer Ridge High School student and CU Boulder freshman, Lacey Rubinstein.
To mitigate sexual assault instances, teachers and former students have been advocating for consent education.
A CORA request obtained by FOX21, originally requested by Baker, revealed emails from the current principal, Dr. Adam Frank, and vice principal, Eric Purdy, telling a teacher it would be too controversial to teach consent during school hours.
“Dr. Adam Frank won’t even consider teaching consent because it’s too controversial in his own words. Is it controversial that I was sexually assaulted at 15 years old by another PR student and still suffer from PTSD to this day?” said Baker.
Parents say the responsibility of holding the school accountable should not fall on the shoulders of teenagers.
“It shouldn’t be their responsibility to fix this… Other people need to step up… Which means the administrators and the people in positions of power,” said D38 parent, Wendy Lambrech.
Following Baker’s speech, D38 Superintendent K.C. Somers addressed the allegations.
“Our policies are designed to ensure that all students can file any report without fear of retaliation, retribution or shame… I commend any former student as well as any of our current students, for standing up and confidently advocating for what is right,” said Superintendent Somers.
While Baker appreciates him acknowledging the bravery it takes to come forward with these allegations, she and others want the school to take responsibility for its inaction.
“Even just a general statement of like, ‘We’re sorry that sexual assault has happened in our school district,’ would be a lot more respectful than the messages they’re giving out now, which is just deny everything,” said Baker.
The superintendent and other school board members made sure to mention the meeting they had earlier this month about education and awareness surrounding consent.
FOX21 News is still investigating multiple CORA requests and will continue to provide updates on this situation.