Ex-teacher in Castle Rock who took 'upskirt' videos sentenced

Steven Jenkins given four years of probation

Posted 7/11/19

The ex-teacher accused of filming inappropriate videos of women and girls — including students, parents, teachers and school administrators — has been sentenced to four years of probation that …

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Ex-teacher in Castle Rock who took 'upskirt' videos sentenced

Steven Jenkins given four years of probation

Posted

The ex-teacher accused of filming inappropriate videos of women and girls — including students, parents, teachers and school administrators — has been sentenced to four years of probation that includes treatment for sexual offenders. He must also register as a sex offender and will have a permanent felony on his record.

Steven Michael Jenkins, 56, was arrested in 2017 after students reported seeing him use his phone to secretly film up the clothing of girls at Renaissance Secondary School in Castle Rock. Jenkins worked in an instructional position at the school. He previously worked as a math teacher at Castle View High School and was an educator for approximately 30 years.

Investigators later found videos, often referred to as “upskirt” videos, of multiple women and girls on Jenkins' phone that were filmed without their knowledge.

He was charged with multiple counts of invasion of privacy and pleaded guilty in April to one count of invasion of privacy for sexual gratification. He entered the guilty plea as part of a plea agreement in exchange for the dismissal of his other charges.

In addition to registering as a sex offender, Jenkins will never be allowed to work as a teacher again. He had voluntarily surrendered his teaching license earlier in the case.

No victims spoke at the July 8 hearing but they did submit statements to the court and have attended previous hearings where they offered emotional testimony, lambasting Jenkins for manipulating his position of trust and stealing the innocence of students.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Kelley Dziedzic said July 8 the plea agreement accomplished many of victims' wishes but had requested District Court Judge Theresa Slade include incarceration in her sentence.

Slade opted for probation only, but the sentence included several stipulations.

It prohibits him from contacting his victims or any minors. Jenkins is required to undergo drug and alcohol treatment if necessary. Other provisions determine what type of phone he can have and limit his access to the internet, computers or cameras.

Dziedzic said the number of victims and the length of time Jenkins' filmed them before being discovered added to the impact of his actions. When Jenkins was arrested investigators found approximately 20 videos of an estimated 10 women and girls.

Jenkins was an admired and trusted teacher, according to multiple people who spoke during the hearing, but he'd “essentially cashed in on his reputation for trustworthiness” and “weaponized trust” in order to film his victims, the prosecutor said.

Jenkins and his attorney, Andrew Ho, did not offer comment following his July 8 sentencing hearing, but Jenkins and numerous supporters of his spoke to Slade before she made her decision.

Jenkins' wife, father, a former student, his minister, a fellow teacher and coworkers from soup kitchens where he now works urged Slade to consider Jenkins' good behavior following his arrest.

Jenkins began counseling with a minister shortly after his arrest. He received treatment outside of his counseling at church as well, according to his attorney. Women from the soup kitchens said he was an exemplary volunteer and worked his way into leadership positions. They commended him for starting his own street ministry, through which he provides sandwiches for people experiencing homelessness.

Sally Collins, a math teacher from Castle View High School who worked closely with Jenkins during his time at the school, said he threw himself into helping others after losing his teaching job,“rather than feeling sorry for himself.” She described his actions as a “poor decision” and said he was “committed to healing.”

“Steve has proven to me that he is to his core a caring, thoughtful” person, she said, adding he had taken the concept of restorative justice to heart through his volunteer work.

Jenkins told Slade he was prepared “to do whatever I need to do to make amends.” He said he was “deeply sorry” for his actions and for the harm he caused students, coworkers, and the greater community.

“It is me and only me that truly deserves to experience pain on the road to redemption,” he said.

Dziedzic requested he write an apology letter to victims, which Slade granted in her sentence. The letter won't come immediately, however, and only if Jenkins progresses further in his treatment.

Slade said she rarely orders apology letter because they can cause victims additional harm if they are not genuine.

She told Jenkins his actions had a far wider impact than on the direct victims alone, and that they caused stress to every parent with children in the community.

The judge believed Jenkins has made progress in his treatment but said he did not immediately take responsibility for his actions and he needed to put more effort into treatment.

She did not believe he fully grasped the ramifications of his crime and asked him to consider what he'd believe to be an appropriate punishment if one of his two children had been victimized in the same way.

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