Teacher accused of 'upskirt' video headed for trial

Steven Michael Jenkins pleaded not guilty on Jan. 8, slated to begin trial in May

Posted 1/8/19

The case involving Steven Michael Jenkins, a former Douglas County School District teacher and employee accused of taking “upskirt” videos of women and girls, is headed to trial after a judge …

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Teacher accused of 'upskirt' video headed for trial

Steven Michael Jenkins pleaded not guilty on Jan. 8, slated to begin trial in May

Posted

The case involving Steven Michael Jenkins, a former Douglas County School District teacher and employee accused of taking “upskirt” videos of women and girls, is headed to trial after a judge twice denied a plea agreement reached between the defense and the prosecution.

In 2017, Jenkins was working in an instructional position at Renaissance Secondary School in Castle Rock when he was arrested on charges of sexual exploitation of a child.

An investigation into Jenkins began after students reported witnessing him shoot video up the clothing of girls dressed in shorts or skirts. Police would later find videos of an estimated 10 women and three juveniles, according to the arrest affidavit in the case.

Once in court he was charged with multiple counts of invasion of privacy. Jenkins' attorney, Andrew Ho, has said throughout the court case they did not believe those charges fit the allegations against him, but they were in “meaningful conversations” with the district attorney's office.

The defense and the prosecution spent months negotiating the plea agreement rejected this month, in which Jenkins would have pleaded guilty to felony charges of promotion of obscenity to a minor.

District Judge Theresa Slade denied it first on Jan. 2 and again on Jan. 8 as she and attorneys debated whether it met legal requirements and what type of treatment Jenkins needed to undergo while on probation.

Once the deal died, Jenkins withdrew his guilty plea. A four-day trial is set to begin in May.

Ho argued in court Jan. 8 the plea agreement was legally sufficient, but Slade said she could not approve it as is. As of Jan. 2, the plea agreement was suppressed.

Ho offered a brief statement following the Jan. 8 hearing, saying they would “continue to take a course of action that is in the best interest of all involved.”

In court, Ho said a new deputy district attorney was being assigned to the case and described losing the deal negotiated between him and Deputy District Attorney Valerie Brewster as putting them “back at square one.” Brewster disagreed, saying she doubted a new deal would be reached regardless of who prosecuted Jenkins.

Victims and parents of victims in attendance at both hearings spoke to Colorado Community Media on Jan. 8.

The father of one victim said he was deeply disappointed by the case's new trajectory while the mother of another said she was frustrated therapists who evaluated Jenkins didn't believe the videos he took were sexual acts.

Brewster said on Jan. 2 therapists believed Jenkins did not have a personality disorder and that he took the videos during a period of high stress in his life.

Jenkins had been an educator for approximately 30 years. He worked as a math teacher at Castle View High School before joining Renaissance Secondary School.

Following his arrest, Jenkins surrendered his teacher's license and began therapy. He also began volunteering at a soup kitchen and worked his way into a management position where he is “third in command,” according to Ho. He does not supervise anyone under 18 years old.

Victims gave emotional statement on Jan. 2, when a sentencing was originally scheduled to take place. One man told Jenkins he stole his daughter's innocence and that his “selfish desires” had “wreaked a lot of havoc.”

A tear-stricken victim supported by her father called Jenkins a liar who manipulated his position of trust.

“I don't think I'll ever,” she said, “trust the way I used to.”

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