Basketball referee Stephen Amador arrested on unlawful sexual contact charges

Amador worked for leagues, schools

LAKEWOOD, Colo. - A basketball referee who officiated games at different schools in Lakewood has been arrested on charges of unlawful sexual contact.

Lakewood police detectives said 52-year-old Stephen Amador was arrested on nine separate charges involving four juvenile female victims.

Detectives said the inappropriate sexual contact occurred during basketball games while Amador was refereeing. The inappropriate contact reportedly occurred over a period of three months beginning in December 2012 and ending in mid-March.

Amador was a registered official, certified to work Colorado High School Activities Association sanctioned games, police said. 

Bert Borgmann of CHSAA said he learned of the allegations Monday afternoon from media.

"We had no idea prior to that," Borgmann said.

Borgmann said Amador has been an independent contractor registered through CHSAA for seven years with a clean record.

But 7NEWS checked court records and found Amador was charged with third-degree sexual assault and harassment in 1991.  Yet, those details never came to light in his referee work, because neither CHSAA nor the Jefferson County School District performs background checks on independent contractors.

7NEWS asked Borgmann whether they plan to change their background check policy.

"Well, we would certainly like to look and see what kind of details we can get as this case moves see if we can strengthen our process," Borgmann said.

The Jefferson County School District confirmed it first learned of the allegations in January. They would not go on camera, but released a statement that said in part, "While the police investigation was pending, the district did not use Mr. Amador as a referee in any games."

Yet, police said Amador may have officiated in other districts, that, like CHSAA, were unaware of the criminal investigation.

"You always hope communication is better, but at times it isn't," Borgmann said.

The Denver Public Schools website shows Amador remained on their basketball referee schedule until March, possibly officiating as many as five games since January in that district alone.

Amador is currently employed as a staff accountant for Metro State University but has no contact with students. The University said it also just learned of the allegations on Monday.  The University did preform a background check when it hired Amador, but their service only checks the last seven years.

Lake police are asking anyone with information that would help in the investigation or with information about Amador to contact Detective Gherardini at 303-987-7225.

The Jefferson County School District provided this statement about the arrest:

"As soon as Jeffco Public Schools was notified of the complaint about Mr. Amador, the district turned the information over to law enforcement to determine if a crime had occurred.  While the police investigation was pending, the district did not use Mr. Amador as a referee in any games."

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