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Frenchtown School confident with investigation into teacher accused of sexual abuse

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Frenchtown Schools Superintendent Randy Cline. (MTN News photo) Frenchtown Schools Superintendent Randy Cline. (MTN News photo)
Frenchtown music teacher Trou Bashor (photo: Frenchtown School District) Frenchtown music teacher Trou Bashor (photo: Frenchtown School District)
Frenchtown High School (MTN News photo) Frenchtown High School (MTN News photo)
MISSOULA -

The Frenchtown School administration is pleased with their investigation into music teacher Troy Bashor, who was recently accused of inappropriate contact by two students.

The Frenchtown district has investigated two complaints of Bashor touching students inappropriately since January while the Missoula County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate similar complaints.

Frenchtown Schools Superintendent Randy Cline told MTN News that he is satisfied with the internal investigation the school conducted regarding both cases. 

Cline says that two students came forward in January with allegations that Bashor had touched them inappropriately. Law enforcement contacted the District and Bashor was placed on leave immediately while the District began an internal investigation.

Cline says that investigation found "a significant discrepancy" in the information that the student provided to the school, and when District administrators attempted to interview her to clarify, the student refused to participate further.

That Title IX investigation found boundary issues, specifically hugs and texting between Bashor and students, but did not substantiate the inappropriate touching alleged by the student. Bashor was disciplined and allowed back to work.

"I thought that the high school principal and the assistant principal did a good job with the investigation. Looked at every path no matter where it took them," Cline said.

"If [during] questions to one student, they mentioned the name of another student, then that student was brought in and talked to to see what information they might have so I thought they pursued everything thoroughly," Cline added.

Since that time, one of the students filed for a restraining order against Bashor. Cline says the allegations in the restraining order are not consistent with the information provided to the District administration by the student.

Missoula Judge Landee Halloway granted a permanent order of protection based on the student's allegations, but made it clear that Bashor was free to return to work -- and both he and the student are allowed to be present at Frenchtown High School.

Cline says that since that time there have been ugly personal attacks on both parties using social media.

"Whether they're attacking the student or whether they're attacking the teacher, and also a lot of times what it leads to is because they disagree they end up attacking each other," Cline said. "And that doesn't add anything to the public discourse or doesn't add anything to the eventual results of this instigation will be."

Satisfied with their own investigation, Cline says they will now wait to hear if the Missoula County Attorney will pursue charges against Bashor. 

"Obviously we hope that happens fairly quickly. And so then whatever we do is based on what happens there. And we certainly want anybody who has any concerns about that to come to the principal and report it," Cline said. "And if they don't feel comfortable coming to the principal, going to a counselor."

Cline went on to say that the District will not tolerate any retaliation against individuals who file complaints, participate in the complaint procedure or are the subject of a complaint. 

Over 50 people turned out on Tuesday evening at a Frenchtown School Board meeting to show their support for Bashor. Bashor's attorney Peter Lacny says his client is denying any wrongdoing.

Below is the full text of a letter sent to MTN News by Cline.

The Frenchtown School District feels it is necessary to correct several inaccurate “facts” that have been reported or used on social media to exacerbate an already difficult situation in our District.  Two years ago, a parent told a junior high counselor that her daughter felt “uncomfortable” around Mr. Bashor.  This parent wanted to remain anonymous.  To be clear, this parent DID NOT report any contact of a sexual nature or that her daughter was distressed at school.  District administrators talked to Mr. Bashor about contact with students, specifically hugs, and directed him not to have that kind of contact with students.  This directive to Mr. Bashor was reported to the parent through the counselor and she indicated that she was satisfied with that result.  That was the last the District administrators or its counselors heard on this issue from this family until January of this year and only when asked directly about it by the high school principal in the course of a Title IX investigation. The high school principal initiated contact with the student and her mother based on 2nd party information received during the investigation.  Contrary to what has been reported, the student has never reported to school officials that Mr. Bashor assaulted her.

In January, another student came forward with allegations that Mr. Bashor had touched her inappropriately and a 3rd party contacted law enforcement.  Law enforcement contacted the District and the student and her family and the District began cooperating with law enforcement immediately.  Due to the nature of the allegations, Mr. Bashor was placed on leave immediately and the District began an investigation under Title IX as is required by law.  After discovering a significant discrepancy in the information that the student provided to the school, District administrators attempted to interview her to clarify this significant discrepancy.  The student refused to participate in the investigation, and would not provide any clarifying information to the District.  The student whose parent reported to the counselor two years ago did participate in the investigation and she talked about specific issues that she was raising against Mr. Bashor.  Those issues did not include conduct of a sexual nature.

Following the District’s investigation, which substantiated boundary issues (specifically hugs, texting, etc.) but did not substantiate the inappropriate touching alleged by the student, Mr. Bashor was disciplined for the inappropriate boundary issues.  After the District administration concluded its investigation, they spoke to a representative of the Sheriff’s office, who stated that he did not expect any criminal charges from the law enforcement investigation.  In a subsequent conversation with District administration, this same representative of the Sheriff’s office confirmed that he had spoken to the County Attorney and that he did not expect any charges would be filed against Mr. Bashor.  Based on that representation and the District’s own investigation, Mr. Bashor returned to school.

Since that time, the student filed for a restraining order against Mr. Bashor.  Based on what has been reported so far, the allegations in the restraining order are not consistent with the information provided to the District administration by the student.  In addition, the recent statements attributed to the parent of the first student are not consistent with the information she or her daughter provided to school officials at any time.

The Justice of the Peace granted a permanent order of protections based on the student’s allegations, but made it clear that Mr. Bashor was free to return to work and both he and the student are present at Frenchtown High School.  Since that time, however, there have been ugly personal attacks on both parties using social media, and flood of misinformation being provided by individuals who claim to have special knowledge of the situation.  None of those individuals have accurate knowledge, and do a great disservice to all the parties by claiming otherwise on social media.  The District will not tolerate any retaliation against individuals who file complaints, participate in the complaint procedure or are the subject of a complaint. 

Randy H. Cline

Superintendent, Frenchtown School District

Past President, Montana Association of School Superintendents 

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