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Amy Lovato and Roberta Rodriguez’ criminal cases were combined today by Park County-based District 11 Judge Brian Green. Lovato and Rodriguez are being charged with Child Abuse and Failure to Report Child abuse stemming from the January 25 investigation and closure of the Poncha Springs Schoolhouse daycare facility.

Judge Green took over the case after Judges Diane Bull and Patrick Murphy, both had recused themselves (see Ark Valley Voice previous articles concerning their recusal).

During the Lovato hearing Deputy District Attorney Joanne Morando asked that the court combine both cases, and both the Judge and Lovato’s attorney, Jason Flores-Williams, agreed. Later Rodriguez’ attorney, Adam Tucker, agreed to combine the cases as well.

Judge Green also set a deadline for any motions in the case to be submitted to the court by March 10 with the Motions hearing set for March 30. “Motions are often made before trials to resolve procedural and preliminary issues and may be made after trials to enforce or modify judgments.

A jury trial was also set for June 5 and 6, 2023.

Outside back play area.

During the Lovato hearing Judge Green asked if there was anyone in the audience wishing to make a statement.

Megan Strauss, a parent of children who had attended the Schoolhouse daycare made a statement on behalf of several other parents requesting to not be named as victims in the case.

Strauss stated that she had submitted a letter requesting the same to Deputy District Attorney Morando’s office but had not heard anything back. Strauss’ request was contained in a letter to the editor and submitted to Ark Valley Voice which you can read here.

Both Judge Green and Deputy District Attorney Morando advised Strauss that the state represents “The People” of the State of Colorado and Chaffee County in general. Only those individuals named in the protection orders issued at the last hearing would be specifically involved in further proceedings. No other public statements were made.