Court records detail seven students’ sexual assault accusations against Summit Middle School teacher

Summit Middle School teacher Leonard Grams, 62, was arrested Aug. 9, 2022, on several charges of sexual assault of a child.
Summit County Sheriff’s Office/Courtesy photo

Accusations of inappropriate contact from seven students sparked an investigation into a Summit Middle School teacher who had been with the Summit School District for 28 years, according to the 47-page affidavit released by Clear Creek County Judge Cynthia Jones on Tuesday, Aug. 9.

Leonard Grams, 61, was arrested Tuesday morning. His advisement hearing was held at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, and the affidavit was released shortly thereafter.

Summit Middle School is pictured on Nov. 12. The former physical education teacher at the school is facing multiple sexual assault charges after students came forward with accusations.
Liz Copan/Summit Daily News archive

According to victims’ accounts detailed in the affidavit, Grams allegedly touched female middle school students inappropriately, stared at sexual aspects of their bodies and made comments about their appearance.

Throughout interviews with investigators recorded in the affidavit, Grams denied every allegation. At one point in the investigation, Grams reportedly called the situation a “coordinated attack.”

Grams denied ever commenting on a students looks, according to the affidavit, but he said some physical contact could have occurred while spotting students on different gym class obstacles, like a rock climbing wall.

Some school officials believed some of the students, all around the age of 15, could be lying based on the word choice used in a letter and their behavior, the affidavit states.

Grams was placed on paid administrative leave on Oct. 18, according to the affidavit, although an official letter of administrative leave was not delivered until Oct. 28.

The accusations were brought to officials at Summit Middle School in September of 2021, and allegations would continue until mid-October, according to the affidavit. The school conducted its own investigation on Oct. 18 before involving law enforcement. In its investigation the school concluded that some of the accusations were “sketchy,” the affidavit says.

Despite the school learning of the accusations in late September 2021, local law enforcement was not contacted until Oct. 27, according to the affidavit.

Under Colorado Law, mandatory reporters — including school principals, school counselors and school human resource directors — are required to immediately report suspected child abuse and neglect to law enforcement or 1-844-CO4-KIDS, a phone line operated by the Colorado Department of Human Services, if there is reasonable cause, according to the Colorado Department of Human Services.

The first of seven complaints came on Sept. 30, from a student in Grams’ class, the affidavit states. The student reportedly spoke with a school counselor, and the student said Grams touched her inappropriately during class. The counselor told detectives this was the first complaint received. The victim broke down in tears in front of the counselor and other students as she explained the incident during a group gathering unrelated to any investigation, according to court records.

The affidavit says “(the alleged victim) felt scared around Mr. Grams that something might happen again.”

“I just kinda walked away and avoided it because I didn’t know what to do because I have never been in a situation like this before, and I was scared,” the alleged victim wrote in a letter to school officials. A school official told the victim’s parents her letter did not match the way she normally talks, the affidavit reads.

A note by a school official dated Oct. 6 said he met with a day treatment therapist who evaluated and met with the first alleged victim. The school official wrote that the therapist determined the alleged victim showed no typical behavior of a victim, but in later interviews the therapist said she doesn’t agree with that statement. She said she explained to school officials that she was not a trained forensic interviewer and told investigators “there is no typical behavior of young people who have been sexually abused.” She denied telling the school official that the alleged victim showed no signs of being a victim.

The school official spoke with Grams, and Grams denied the first allegation made, the affidavit states, saying Grams claimed “there was no accidental contact of any kind.” The next day, Grams went to the principal’s office and listed off a group of girls, including the second and third alleged victims, he thought might be “pushing this whole thing,” the affidavit reads.

The second alleged victim sent an email a few weeks later around Oct. 15, 2021 to the same counselor the first alleged victim spoke to, saying Grams allegedly touched her inappropriately during class, the affidavit states. The third victim reportedly came forward around that time and stated Grams also touched her inappropriately during gym class while she was spotting a partner on the rock climbing wall. Grams denied the allegations in his account in the affidavit.

Human resources opened its investigation into the allegations made by the first three alleged victims on Oct. 18, the affidavit reads. That same day, Grams was placed on paid administrative leave.

The affidavit says the third alleged victim’s story changed a bit when she filed her report. Officials with Summit School District Human Resources believed the first three students to come forward were “stumbling over their stories,” the affidavit reads.

The first student to complain was removed from Grams’ class and her parents were spoken to by the principal, the affidavit reads.

During the week of Oct. 17, three more alleged victims made allegations against Grams the affidavit states. By the end of the week of Oct. 23, six students had come forward.

The following weekend of Oct. 23, a seventh student made allegations to the principal against Grams, the affidavit reads. 

Detectives spoke with parents of the alleged victims on Oct. 28 and 29, the affidavit reads. Detectives informed parents of the allegations involved.

One of the victims’ mothers told investigators “she was advised by the school district that (her daughter) was lying because she got a bad grade in class,” the affidavit reads.

The fifth alleged victim said Grams gave her a failing grade in class, although she said she turned in all her work, the affidavit reads. The affidavit indicates the victim received the failing grade after publicly confronting Grams about his actions in class.

The fifth alleged victim claims Grams touched her buttocks while she was doing pushups, and when she confronted him, Grams allegedly responded, “Excuse me, I did nothing to you, young lady,” the affidavit states. The victim said Grams stopped his alleged inappropriate behavior after that, according to the affidavit.

In interviews conducted by investigators, Grams denied the victim ever spoke those words aloud. 

The second victim said during gym class, “Grams’ body was completely squished against hers” and he touched her buttocks, according to the victim’s statement in the affidavit. In a second incident during a climbing session in gym class, she said Grams lifted up her shirt and started “touching everywhere but the harness,” the affidavit reads. He touched her back and buttocks and did not look at the clips in the front, and neither did he check the other four females or males present, the affidavit reads.

In his account, Grams said he checked her harness the way he does everyone’s and never lifted up her shirt. He also said he will ask a student if they can put their hair up because he’s had a couple students get their hair caught in the belaying device.

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