The former Broomfield High School football coach who led the team to a state championship last year was warned by police that his behavior and relationships with then-current and former students were “alarming and concerning” and “appear to be ‘grooming.’”
The now-closed Broomfield police investigation, which began Dec. 15, detailed allegations that Blair Hubbard engaged in inappropriate private communications with students, including text messages that police said encouraged underage drinking and that students said made them feel uncomfortable.
But police found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, according to the report of the investigation The Denver Post obtained from the Broomfield Police Department on Tuesday.
Hubbard, who was named the Denver Broncos’ high school football coach of the year days before the investigation started, was placed on administrative leave and later resigned, Boulder Valley School District officials said in a letter sent to parents April 10.
The Denver Post could not reach Hubbard on Tuesday. But Pastor Rick Long, identified as a spokesperson for Hubbard, told 9News that the former Broomfield coach vehemently denied the grooming accusations.
A district spokesperson said Tuesday they had no further comment on the situation.
In the police investigation, students provided text messages in which they said Hubbard asked a former student who had graduated the previous year if she had a fake ID that worked in Denver bars, then asked about her drink of choice. Long told 9News “she was an adult — they were having an adult conversation.”
“What’s your drink,” Hubbard asked, according to the police report. The woman responded, “A dirty martini or a beer… and I’m talking a dirty martini, like filthy,” to which Hubbard said, “Define filthy” with a laughing emoji.
She replied, “Lots of olive juice,” and Hubbard then said, “OK, done.”
A friend of the woman also told investigators Hubbard texted her about “how good she looked,” according to the report.
A former student detailed to police that Hubbard would text her about coming to see her at her workplace, and another said Hubbard asked questions about her life after high school that made her feel like he wanted a relationship with her. He asked for photos of her, the student said.
Another student also said Hubbard asked her for photos of herself for “proof that (the student) was alone in her bedroom,” according to the police report.
Multiple witnesses told investigators in interviews that most of the football players knew about the communications Hubbard had with female students, with one witness going so far as to say, “The entire school football team knows about these communications.”
That witness said they felt Hubbard might be preying on female students associated with the football team and “given his position of power they might feel under his control,” according to the police report.
Investigators noted in the report that a witness said they did not think anything sexual had occurred at the school, “but there is an odd power dynamic.”
Broomfield High School Athletic Director Steve Shelton told police in an interview about an incident several years prior during which parents reported text messages between Hubbard and their child, who was Hubbard’s student aid.
Hubbard would use pet names like “sweetie” and “honey” in the messages, according to the report, and Shelton told police Hubbard was told not to have private communications with students for any reason.
Shelton said to police he was surprised Hubbard “did not learn from the first incidents years past,” and he does not think anything sexual happened, “but the text conversation definitely alludes to a sexual relationship,” according to the report.
On Jan. 4, police interviewed Hubbard, who said he had “fostered positive relationships with the student body,” and that he used text messages and private messaging on social media to talk with students mostly about football business and some “personal-related topics.”
When asked about the messages about fake IDs, Hubbard said multiple students have them, and when the investigator told him the messages encouraged underage drinking, Hubbard said he did not encourage or persuade her to drink, according to the report.
The investigator also asked about messages that appeared to insinuate intimate relationships; Hubbard apologized if they appeared that way and said that was not his intention.
“I told Hubbard that his continued pattern of behavior was alarming and concerning,” the investigator wrote in the case report. “He was advised that his behaviors and relationship with students appear to be ‘grooming.’”
The investigation found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, police noted in the report, and Hubbard was not charged with any crime.
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