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Gunnison Valley residents should calm down, allow appropriate officials to respond to abuse case

 

Time for everybody who is up in arms about the apparent sexual assault to calm down.

We’re in no way diminishing the seriousness of the sexual assault that came to light in early November.

We’re as alarmed as anybody about information suggesting assaults similar to the intrusion reported by a GVHS freshman, assaults law enforcement officials say were perpetrated by the same youth who is the central figure in the early October case, have occurred at the high school for possibly three years.

It’s sobering to hear that there may be upwards of 20 victims of such assaults and to wonder how such incidents have affected young men and young women who apparently were too confused or embarrassed at the time to tell anyone about them.

Now that the information is out, or as much as can be released publicly when juveniles are involved, we believe it’s time to turn a corner.

Nothing will be accomplished by continued attacks on the school district superintendent, school principal, athletic director or football coach (who resigned, undoubtedly in part because of hysteria directed at him)

A lawsuit has been filed aimed at determining if any of these officials fell down on the job, and if they did, making them accountable.

Nothing will be accomplished by calling in an independent investigative panel. The law enforcement officers investigating the recent incidents, and past incidents, are independent of the school system.

The lead investigator is Sgt. Carl Wimmer of the Gunnison Valley Police Department, who is the school resource officer and who has wide support from students, parents and the community. He is backed up by Wes Mangum, the able assistant county attorney. These people are no patsies.

Nothing is accomplished by posting unfounded allegations on social media, such as allegations the school district planned to fire Wimmer in order to shut off the investigation. If you see a wild charge related to this case on Facebook or other sites, whatever you do, don’t spread them.

The judicial, educational and therapeutic organizations charged with responding to such a case are on the job.

The juveniles involved in the attacks have all appeared in juvenile court before Judge Brody Keisel, who is widely respected in this county. Since juvenile court is closed, we will never know exactly what the court finds. We should keep in mind that the juveniles involved in the incidents probably did not understand the seriousness of what they were doing. But we are confident they will receive consequences commensurate with their actions.

Superintendent Kent Larsen has called a meeting Nov. 28 with officials from the Central Utah Counseling Center and the Utah State Office of Education suicide prevention team.

The thing that may help most is the “Stand up, speak out” program outlined at the last school board meeting. The students presented a flow chart of actions and activities to make sure students at GVHS have someone to go to when they need to talk about problems, that no student is harassed and that all students feel happy at school.

To sum things up, capable people across multiple organizations are responding to these sexual assaults and taking actions to be sure no such incidents occur in the future, or if they do, they can be reported and stopped immediately.

Now people in the Gunnison Valley need to calm down and support the people who have the expertise in doing their jobs.