The following is a letter written by my wife Wendi to the citizens of Trinidad, Colorado. It was originally sent to the Chronicle News and Pueblo Chieftain, neither of which had the guts to publish it.
Dear Citizens of Trinidad, CO:
You owe it to your children to critically examine the repeated allegations of sexual assault against multiple members of the former coaching staff from Trinidad High School over a span of several decades.
These men have created a nearly impenetrable Good Ol’ Boy Club built upon a foundation of shared knowledge of dirty little secrets that they keep for (and likely lord over) one another. The result is a depth of corruption and breadth of collusion that rivals that of the Catholic Church. Because no one—not school administrators, nor police officers, nor parents of current students —wants to believe the allegations of the sole victim brave enough to speak publicly, I thought you might like to see some physical evidence of the kind of men who are working to silence her.
The photo below is a snapshot of the only signature on page 103 of my senior yearbook from 1987:
I can assure you this photo is authentic as I took it myself, and the original signature remains securely in my possession. The signature reads: “Wendy [sic] I’ve enjoyed talking to you. Looking at you, Just having you around. One heck of a young women [sic]. Best of Luck. Just wished I was the lucky man. Always, Coach Dasko”
I was a 17-year-old senior in high school when those words were handwritten in my yearbook by George “Coach” Dasko, who was my history teacher at the time. The first time I read this, I understood clearly why he seated me in the front row, directly in his line of sight, the first day of class. I was a tall, thin, leggy teenager with an unusually small waist and large breasts, so I don’t doubt that he enjoyed looking at me. The fact that he felt it was okay to say so in a wildly inappropriate yearbook exchange between teacher and student is another matter. I was disturbed by his words the first time I read them in 1987. Today, as the stepmother of a tall, thin, leggy 10-year-old who is growing up far too quickly, I am horrified by those words.
Parents, how would you feel if one of your daughter’s teachers wrote something similar in her yearbook?
Would you be alarmed?
Or would you dismiss it as a momentary lapse in judgment by someone you believe to be a “nice guy”?
George Dasko is a nice guy, by most definitions. He’s adored and idolized by a lot of people. There are legions of former students and athletes who will undoubtedly rise to his defense. I can’t speak for anyone else. I can only speak for myself, and in my personal opinion, George Dasko is a pervert who (at best) lacks boundaries. At worst, he may be just as guilty of sexual abuse as his friends and family who have been repeatedly accused of sexual assault. I hope that’s not the case because even I think George is basically a nice guy. Still, because of the inappropriately suggestive things he wrote to a 17-year-old girl, I won’t allow him within a 5-mile radius of my stepdaughter. Thankfully, she no longer lives in Trinidad, so George is one basketball coach her father and I won’t have to worry about when our budding basketball star enters middle school.
When Kimber Begano went public with her allegations, I believed her. I believed her then, and I believe her now after watching her stand up to brutal and painfully public attacks on her character, her family, and her property. I attended the permanent restraining order hearing in Trinidad so I could hear the testimony myself. I listened to every word exchanged in the courtroom that day, and I walked out of that courthouse knowing two things for certain: 1) Kimber Begano is a warrior, and 2) she is absolutely not a liar.
Over the past several decades, an untold number of sexual assault allegations naming multiple members of the former coaching staff at Trinidad High School have been swept under the rug by the Trinidad School District, the Trinidad Police Department, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Some records of these prior allegations are beginning to surface, however. Many of them are public records that can and should be requested by any parent with a child attending any school in Las Animas County.
I encourage concerned parents with children at Trinidad Middle School in particular to request, at a bare minimum, a copy of the court’s final judgment on pages 169 through 177 of the transcript from the permanent restraining order hearing, Case No. 13C186: KIMBER BEGANO, Petitioner vs. RANDY BEGANO, Respondent.
Read the court’s conclusion for yourself. Determine, for yourself, if you’re comfortable with Randy Begano teaching or coaching your daughters after reading that transcript. Stop listening to heresy and start examining facts. I’ve done my due diligence. Now, it’s your turn.
Please, put the welfare of your own children before your love of sports, and settle for nothing less than transparency from those to whom you entrust those children. It’s time to demand a higher level of professionalism from your elected officials and your police department.
I haven’t been a parent for very long, but I am frequently surprised by the intensity of my drive to protect my stepdaughter. Watching my husband grapple with Kimber’s story tells me that the drive of a biological parent to protect his child is even stronger. Kimber Begano no longer stands alone. My husband and I have joined her crusade to rid the schools in Las Animas County of sexual predators, and we will not rest until the children of Las Animas County—your children—are safe from harm by those in positions of trust.
Wendi K. Reamy
In this instance, I believe this forum is equal time as there are other sympathetic avenues available to those whose views oppose those expressed here; but I also think it would be a shame to deny the world a glimpse of those who hold a differing view than the one presented here. That said, commenting here is a privilege and all comments on this blog are moderated because too many people on the internet forget how to be decent and courteous to someone who doesn’t share his views. I’ll not have that here. I am the final arbiter of comments, and if I deem comments as inappropriate I reserve the right to remove them from my blog. I log IP addresses.