Bomb plot suspects could face expulsion

Moffat County School Board to decide fate of Craig students

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— The interim superintendent of the Moffat County School District will recommend that three students accused of plotting to bomb the high school and courthouse be expelled from school.

Interim Superintendent Pete Bergmann's decision came following a pre-expulsion hearing Tuesday night for Stephen Jackman, 17, Tony Jacob, 16, and Tommy Elam, 14.

"I can't discuss a lot of the basis of the decision, because the students' records are confidential, but basically my recommendation is based on the police report, what the (district attorney's) office has told me, and on (Principal) Jane Krogman's report and recommendation," Bergmann said. "I will recommend to the board at the Jan. 28 meeting that they be expelled. The board will make the final decision."

In the Moffat County School district, the recommendations of administrators are usually approved.

"I would say, and I have a limited background with this, that in this district the board usually goes along with the recommendation of the administrative team," Bergmann said. "The board trusts the judgment of the people put in those administrative positions. Unless there is a strong case presented by the parent or the students, the board will act as recommended."

Jackman, Elam and Jacob were arrested Dec. 21 on felony charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and terrorist training activities.

The hearing was attended by Bergmann, MCHS Principal Jane Krogman and Marie Jensen, Jackman's mother. The three suspended students did not appear.

Jackman was released on bond Monday to the custody of his father in Lyman, Wyo. Jacob and Elam remain in custody at the Grand Mesa Youth Services Center in Grand Junction. All three are due in court Jan. 29 for preliminary hearings.

In Jackman's case, Judge Joel Thompson ruled the evidence against Jackman was not as incriminating as that against the other two youths and that Jackman did not have the criminal history the other two had.

"The statements against (Jackman) are minuscule, and he made no incriminating statements in his interviews," Thompson said. "His case is different than the other two he has no prior history of adjudications or juvenile acts. It's not appropriate to keep him in detention."

Bergmann said he has not decided what length of expulsion to recommend. The maximum allowed is one year.

"Because of the alleged crimes of violence, we must have assurances that the returning students will not exhibit detrimental attitudes toward the other students, that the students do not pose a threat," Bergmann said. "Each student must complete a violence risk assessment conducted by a qualified, licensed psychologist before being allowed to return. That is a pre-requisite to re-entering the school."

The Moffat County School Board could make a decision on the expulsions at its next meeting Jan. 28.

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