Sentencing for teacher accused of 'upskirt' videos delayed

Plea deal in Steven Michael Jenkins case denied by judge

Posted 1/3/19

The sentencing for an ex-teacher charged with filming “upskirt” videos of girls and women was delayed this week after a judge denied a plea deal reached between prosecutors and the defense. The …

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Sentencing for teacher accused of 'upskirt' videos delayed

Plea deal in Steven Michael Jenkins case denied by judge

Posted

The sentencing for an ex-teacher charged with filming “upskirt” videos of girls and women was delayed this week after a judge denied a plea deal reached between prosecutors and the defense.

The decision came after victims in the case gave emotional statements during a Jan. 2 sentencing hearing. Past students and their parents called Steven Michael Jenkins, formerly employed by the Douglas County School District, a liar who manipulated his position of trust.

“I don't think I'll ever trust the way I used to,” one victim told Jenkins.

Jenkins, then 54, was arrested Dec. 8, 2017 on charges of sexual exploitation of a child. Authorities discovered videos on his phone that had been secretly filmed up the clothing of numerous women and girls. He was fired from the school district and released from jail three days later on a $5,000 bond.

Once in court he was charged with multiple counts of invasion of privacy, which were ultimately dismissed, leaving his main charge as promoting obscenity to a minor, a class 6 felony.

The defense and the district attorney's office had been negotiating a plea deal for months, waiving hearings and rescheduling court appearances as talks progressed.

Jenkins' attorney, Andrew Ho, said on Jan. 2 the hang-up came as the judge and attorneys debated what type of probation would be legally required of Jenkins, and if the plea deal met those standards.

A court administrator said the plea deal is suppressed and only available to the parties involved in the case. Ho declined to offer any specifics about what sort of sentence it entailed.

Jenkins was prepared to enter a guilty plea as part of the agreement. The judge gave him an additional week to decide if he still wanted to plead guilty after the deal was denied. He was scheduled to make his decision in court on Jan. 8.

Jenkins had been a teacher for approximately 30 years.

He worked as a math teacher at Castle View High School beginning in 2014 and was a in an instructional position at Renaissance Secondary School in Castle Rock at the time of his arrest.

An investigation began when the principal of Renaissance called Castle Rock police after students reported seeing him shoot upward video of female students dressed in short skirts or shorts.

A Castle Rock police officer interviewed Jenkins at Renaissance on Dec. 4, 2017, saying they received reports he sent threatening messages.

With Jenkins' permission, the officer first looked through the texts and photos on his phone. When the officer opened the video folder, he noticed videos that appeared to be shot at unusual angles, like of floors, walls and ceilings.

Jenkins “suddenly reached for the phone” when the officer opened a video, according to an affidavit. He first claimed the videos were of his wife, but his story shifted multiple times from there. He eventually described the videos on his phone as being sexual in nature.

The officer seized his phone and school-issued laptop as evidence. Investigators would go on to find roughly 20 upskirt videos of an estimated 10 women on Jenkins phone, in addition to three juvenile victims.

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

“He has not minimized or diminished any responsibility,” Ho told the judge.

At the Jan. 2 hearing, a tear-stricken victim supported by her father said she at first felt cared for by the attention Jenkins gave her as an educator. When other teachers or school staff were busy, “you would take extra time and talk with me,” she said.

When she heard of his arrest she was initially confused, she said, but in time that changed.

“I replayed every situation in my mind and started to realize what you were doing,” she said.

Since the videos were discovered, the victim described feeling unable to trust other adults in her school and her church. She has felt afraid of men, had nightmares from which she awoke in tears and “was uncomfortable being a girl.”

She spoke Jan. 2 so he would know the pain he caused here, she said.

A father and husband to victims broke down as he spoke of his wife and daughter being victimized, telling Jenkins he stole his daughter's innocence. He commended their strength in handling the crime, but had strong words for Jenkins.

“Bottom line,” the man said, “your selfish desires have wreaked a lot of havoc.”

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