Teacher accused of sex with student
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” An Elizabeth High School teacher accused of having sexual intercourse with one of the school’s football players in Glenwood Springs while he was on a playoff trip had just finalized her divorce before accompanying the team that weekend.
A warrant obtained Monday for the arrest of Darcie Esson, 32, of Parker, also states that her two children and their baby-sitter, another of the high school’s students, were in the America’s Best Value Inn motel room when the November incident occurred there.
Parker police arrested Esson – who also is listed as having a Paonia post office box and former address – late Monday afternoon on a felony charge of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust. She has since been released from the Douglas County jail after posting $25,000 bond.
Bob Neel, superintendent of the Elizabeth C-1 School District, which is southeast of Denver, said Tuesday that the district’s attorney has said it appears there is enough evidence to fire her from her job as an English teacher. That will be up to the high school principal to decide, but Neel expects the principal will recommend her firing, and the school board will act on the recommendation at its next meeting, Jan. 11.
The district suspended Esson with pay last Wednesday when it began to investigate the allegations against her.
Esson could not be reached for comment. Neel said she denies the allegations.
The football team stayed in Glenwood Springs on the weekend when it lost to Rifle High School in Rifle. An arrest warrant affidavit by Glenwood Springs police says the allegations against Esson first came to light after a 17-year-old football player began bragging about having had intercourse with her. A 16-year-old student who heard him talking informed school authorities last Wednesday.
The player at first told school officials and Elizabeth police that nothing had happened, and his parents believed him. However, his mother then contacted his cell phone service provider and found that there had been more than 120 calls or text messages by the student to Esson’s cell phone, police say. Some text messages between the two phones allegedly refer to their relationship and the sexual incident.
Elizabeth police contacted Glenwood police Thursday, and two Glenwood detectives went to Elizabeth Monday to conduct interviews. There, they met with the student and his parents, and he told them he had had sexual intercourse with Esson on the floor near one of the two beds in her motel room while the baby-sitter and her children, ages 4 and 8, were asleep on the beds.
The affidavit says Esson had nothing to do with the high school football program and merely wanted “to go along” on the playoff trip. It said her divorce was final on Nov. 10.
Neel said she wasn’t on duty with the school during the trip, and her hotel room wasn’t paid for by the district. The team and coaches/teachers stayed at a different Glenwood Springs motel, the Antlers Best Western.
The affidavit said the school principal, James Trevino, had made reservations for two adjacent rooms at Best Value Inn and put them on his personal credit card. He reserved his room for the nights of Nov. 10 and 11, and Esson’s for Nov. 11, and picked up keys for both rooms on Nov. 10.
Esson reportedly went out with some Elizabeth parents after the game and began drinking. One of the parents gave her a ride back to her motel at about 1:30 a.m. Nov. 12.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth’s coach reportedly had had trouble getting the football player in question to go to bed that evening. The coach found the student out on a balcony and later discovered him missing, at which point friends located the student by calling his cell phone and he returned, the affidavit said.
However, the student told police he later left his motel by a back window and walked to Esson’s room. The baby-sitter reported that a male entered the room with Esson at about 1:30 a.m. and stayed until about 4 a.m.
The student told police Esson offered him alcohol, which he declined. She then kissed him and that led to sexual relations, police say. The student told police that they had used a condom, which was found by a baby-sitter in a bathroom the next morning.
He said Esson later asked him not to tell anyone what had happened because she feared she would lose her job, police say. The affidavit said the student admitted to having sex with Esson after being pressured by other students who had been talking about him still being a virgin.
The affidavit said students at the high school considered Esson “to be one of their friends.” The football player in question had been a student of Esson’s for a year or two.
Neel said she began teaching at the school during the 2003-04 school year. He said Esson has been “very dedicated and energetic” in her job, which includes teaching English and helping freshmen with orientation and study habits.
The school has about 800 students. Neel said students probably have a mix of emotions about the allegations against Esson.
“Some I’m sure are shocked by it, and some probably knew it was going on,” he said.
He said the district has been through some difficult times in recent years, dealing with financial issues and embezzlement charges that were filed four years ago.
While it’s in another embarrassing situation now, it is stronger because of the past challenges it has had to face, Neel said.
“It’s one of those things we have to go through,” he said.
Esson is due in district court in Glenwood Springs Dec. 29.
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