Former Center Early Childhood Programs teacher Sally Glaser is headed to trial.
Glaser was arrested on April 1 for the alleged sexual assault of a four-year-old Center student. Glaser faced four charges at that time: sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, sexual assault on a child, unlawful sexual contact, and child abuse.
Shortly after Glaser’s arrest, the Leadville Police Department re-opened a 2012 case involving Glaser and a former preschool student in which no charges were filed.
A few weeks later, the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office filed three new felony charges against Glaser: sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, sexual assault on a child, and sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust – pattern of abuse. All were in regard to the 2012 case.
On Tuesday, Glaser appeared in Lake County District Court for her preliminary hearing.
After nearly four hours of testimony, Judge Cindy Bruner ruled that the case would move forward to trial. The judge cited “a scintilla of non-hearsay evidence” and the similarity of the alleged victims’ claims in making her decision.
LPD Detective Adam Hanna, who conducted the investigation, was the first to testify.
Hanna recalled his first meeting with the alleged victim’s family on March 6, the same night the family contacted law enforcement.
According to Hanna, the parents said that their daughter, who was a four-year-old student at the Center at the time, conveyed that Glaser had pulled down her pants and touched her inappropriately in the school bathroom that day.
The mother also gave her daughter’s undergarments, which she said were stained with blood, to the LPD. The undergarments were taken as evidence and sent to Colorado Bureau of Investigation for examination. The LPD is still waiting on the test results.
On March 21, the child was taken to the Children’s Advocacy Center in Denver for a forensic interview where she confirmed what she had told her mother.
Hanna also recounted his interview with Glaser during his testimony. According to the detective, Glaser said she believed the child was upset due to being punished earlier that day for not lining up with her peers. She also stated that she never goes in the restroom with students.
In April, the LPD re-opened the 2012 case involving Glaser.
The alleged 2012 victim, who is now 13 years old, completed a new forensic interview. She also completed a forensic interview in 2012.
According to Hanna, the girl claimed that Glaser would often volunteer to take her to the bathroom though Glaser was not her teacher. On several occasions, the alleged victim said, Glaser squeezed her arm tightly on the way to the bathroom. Once in the bathroom, Glaser touched her vagina while covering her mouth.
“I started to see similarities between the two cases and believed the allegations to be more substantial,” Hanna told the judge. Both girls are predominately Spanish-speaking and were four- and five-years old at the time of the alleged incidents.
Glaser’s attorney Donald Cutler then questioned the use of leading questions in the forensic interviews, the quality of Hanna’s investigation, the feasibility of Glaser being alone with a student in a bathroom and the lack of forensic evidence.
Former Center Principal Emily Bordogna, who left the school in 2014, had difficulty remembering any specific policies surrounding bathroom use during her tenure.
Tanya Lenhard, who served as Glaser’s supervisor more recently, said that there were no specific procedures in place this spring that prohibited teachers from going into the bathroom alone with students. Yet Lenhard emphasized that it is common practice for students to do bathroom trips at set times in big groups or with support staff while class was in session. Glaser was a lead teacher.
Cutler also emphasized that no charges were filed in the 2012 case. Additionally, Judge Wayne Patton dropped the family’s application for a protective order against Glaser in 2012 because of lack of evidence.
Regardless of the trial’s outcome, Glaser will not return to the school district for the 2019-2020 school year. The former teacher, who was placed on paid administrative leave after her arrest, worked for LCSD for over 25 years.
Glaser will next appear in court for her arraignment on Aug. 30.