Posted inSun Investigation

With bites, bruises and low pay, caretakers for Colorado’s troubled youth say there’s not enough staff to keep kids — and each other — safe

Olivia Couch followed as the boy hopped two fences and climbed into a drainage ditch filled with water.  Her job was to keep the 12-year-old safe, and protocol at the residential treatment center was to “shadow” children who ran off campus but not restrain or block them. Couch had never given up on sticking with […]

Posted inSun Investigation

The deadly consequences when kids run away from Colorado residential treatment centers

In the places of last resort for Colorado’s most troubled kids, the doors are not locked.  And the children run.  They scale fences and slip through gates. They bolt from staff, who are not allowed to block or restrain them, and they roam city streets for hours or sometimes days.  Children and teens run away […]

Posted inSun Investigation

Colorado child protection caseworker under investigation for falsifying reports about checking on kids, at-risk adults

At first, the child protection worker’s supervisor noticed missing notes in a handful of cases of alleged abuse and neglect.  Then more cases looked suspicious, as if the caseworker’s details about checking on children and their families weren’t actually true. After an outside team — a crew of 15 caseworkers from nine counties — was […]

Posted inSun Investigation

Jared Polis is taking big money from private donors to fund key positions in Colorado governor’s office

To deliver on his campaign promises and policy priorities, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is relying on wealthy donors and major advocacy organizations to pay the bill. The Democratic governor is accepting more than $1 million from donors, nonprofits and foundations to pay salaries and costs associated with six top policy positions, according to a review […]

Posted inSun Investigation

Colorado’s 2015 law changing how officer-involved shootings are reviewed still lets police agencies investigate themselves

Five years ago, Colorado lawmakers passed a bill that banned police departments and sheriff’s officers from investigating themselves without any outside assistance after one of their officers or deputies shoots someone.  But here’s the hitch: the legislation, Senate Bill 219, specifically states “shooting,” meaning it doesn’t apply if someone dies at the hands of law […]

Posted inSun Investigation

Oil and gas and private donors paid for initiatives in Hickenlooper’s administration, investigation finds

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper accepted millions of dollars from corporations and nonprofits to fund initiatives and positions in his office — an arrangement that came with limited oversight and public disclosure despite the potential conflicts of interest. The most significant corporate donations came from the oil and gas industry, where Anadarko Petroleum and Noble […]

Posted inSun Investigation

Coronavirus-related deaths among Colorado nursing home, senior-care center residents rise to at least 64

The number of residents of Colorado nursing homes and senior care centers who have died because of the coronavirus rose to at least 64 on Wednesday, up from 32 last week, according to a count by The Colorado Sun.  The state health department is not releasing the data — despite media requests and Gov. Jared […]

Posted inSun Investigation

A Denver priest — his dad’s best friend — raped him. The state’s Catholic Church abuse report revealed the secret.

Warning: This story contains explicit descriptions of sexual assault. GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Neil Elms planned to carry his biggest secret to his grave. He thought no one would ever know what he’d kept hidden for 37 years. Elms never told his mother or father, or any of his six siblings. He concealed it through […]