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The second childcare professional charged in The Schoolhouse case, Roberta Rodriguez is headed to jury trial on September 25 in Chaffee County District Court. She is accused of failure to report child abuse according to the legal reporting requirements in a case where over a period of a couple days, a five-year-old little boy pulled down the pants of another child at the childcare center.

The historic Poncha Springs Schoolhouse was reopened in 2020 as the Chaffee Childcare Initiative Schoolhouse. Photo by Jan Wondra.

Rodriguez is the second person charged in the case, which included the person to whom she reported, Chaffee Childcare Initiative Executive Director Amy Lovato. This past June, it took the jury only two hours to acquit Lovato of all charges.

Rodriguez, who was The Schoolhouse center director, was not in the classroom when the incidents occurred. It has not even been determined what exactly makes the incident a case of child abuse.

But after The Schoolhouse self-reporting the incident, the Chaffee Department of Human Services showed up at The Schoolhouse with the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office and shut the childcare center down in a traumatic fashion.

The actions threw the working parents of two dozen preschoolers who needed safe, affordable, childcare into limbo and divided the community.

During the pretrial hearing, Prosecutor Karen Lintott made an attempt to add more charges to the case, which is a single charge of “failure to immediately report child abuse”. This caused District Judge Brian Green to remark that it was as if she was trying to “throw the spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks.”