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Former RE1J psychologist pleads guilty before trial

Robinson set for sentencing Sept. 13

By Cayla Vidmar

Former Gunnison Watershed School District psychologist Patrick Robinson pled guilty this week to a class 3 misdemeanor for actions he took last December. The plea came just before a jury trial was set to begin on September 5 on class 1 misdemeanor charges, and that trial has been vacated.

On December 21, 2017 Robinson made a statement—“I’m going to end up shooting someone”—on school grounds, which lead to a valley wide school “lock out,” and Robinson’s subsequent arrest. His sentencing for one count of interference with a school, a class 3 misdemeanor, is set for September 13 at 3 p.m.

According to a court order written by county court judge Ashley Burgemeister, at some point prior to Robinson’s December 21st statement, school district superintendent Doug Treadway had placed Robinson on a supervisory plan because “he was accused of drinking on the job several times.” Robinson had conveyed to a colleague and longtime friend that he was upset with Treadway for the supervisory action.

On the day of the incident, according to the court order, Robinson and his colleague were speaking outside the Gunnison High School guidance counsel office, and Robinson appeared “drunk or hungover—he had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and smelled of alcohol.”

Robinson told his colleague that he did not feel respected at his job. During this conversation the school guidance secretary stepped out of the office and asked Robinson to clean up a mess he had made, and then returned to the guidance office.

According to the court order, at that point Robinson had been mumbling incoherently and then he clearly stated “I’m going to end up shooting someone.” To which the defendant’s colleague stated, “You can’t say that. You need to go.”

Robinson’s colleague directed him outside the building so that he was locked outside of the school, and then reported to the Gunnison High School principal, Andy Hanks, the events that had occurred. According to the court order, Robinson’s colleague “knew that the defendant owned a hunting rifle, shotgun and muzzle loader,” and believed that “there was a need to call law enforcement” based off school safety trainings. From there a school lock out in Crested Butte and Gunnison were initiated.

Upon reflection, Robinson’s colleague said he believed the “Defendant’s statement may have been a cry for help, and feared that Defendant may take his own life,” according to the court order.

In July, Robinson moved to dismiss the charge—one count of interference with staff, faculty or students of educational institutions, a class 1 misdemeanor—because he believed it was “unconstitutionally overbroad as applied to him…because [his statement] was not directed at a specific, identifiable person he knew or believed to be a student, school official, or employee of educational institution.”

Judge Burgemeister denied this motion, citing that the charge “prohibits general threats at or to a school.” In the court order, she further notes that “based on the circumstances preceding the defendant’s statement, the context in which the statement was made and the reaction of the recipient, Defendant’s statement was directed at school officials and employees. Further. . .based on his training as a school psychologist, Defendant knew his statement would be relayed to school officials.”

Robinson’s sentencing will take place on September 13, at 3 p.m.

 

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