Frenchtown School District leaders are denying that they "ignored reports" that high school music teacher Troy Bashor was sexually assaulting students.
School district attorneys made that statement in response to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Missoula against the school district, and Frenchtown School Superintendent Randy Cline, for the assaults attributed to Bashor.
The suit claims the school district didn't stop Bashor from harassing and groping the anonymous student named in the suit, even after she complained.
But the district's attorneys say they did investigate reports back in 2015 that a student was feeling "uncomfortable" around Bashor, with an additional report last year.
However, they say the defendants "deny they failed to take measures to protect female students at Frenchtown High School", saying the assault claims are "unsubstantiated."
No court hearings have been scheduled in the case at this point.
Bashor is also facing misdemeanor criminal charges in Missoula County.
(DECEMBER 26, 2017) A student who says she was sexually harassed on numerous occasions by Frenchtown Schools music teacher Troy Bashor is seeking a jury trial.
Documents filed in U.S. District Court in Missoula state that the student and her parents that the Frenchtown School District and Superintendent Randy Cline failed to take appropriate action in light of the complaints made Bashor.
Bashor pleaded not guilty to allegedly fondling and attempting to kiss one of his 16-year-old female students in December of 2016 during an appearance last month in Missoula County Justice Court.
If found guilty, Bashor faces six months in jail and/or a $500 fine. His next court appearance is slated for January 2018.
Court documents filed by "Jane Doe" and her parents state that the School District and Cline "chose to ignore the reports of Mr. Bashor’s predatory behavior and failed to take any measures to protect female students at Frenchtown High School from harm." The complaint further states that "as a direct result of these failures, Bashor sexually harassed and assaulted Doe."
The student says she faced "harassment, bullying, and threats by other Frenchtown students and staff loyal to Mr. Bashor" and that months of "bullying and retaliation...forced Doe to leave Frenchtown School District and has resulted in ongoing mental and emotional distress."
Documents filed in federal court further state that "since 2014, multiple female students, including Doe, have reported uncomfortable and harassing behaviors by Mr. Bashor, including inappropriate and unwanted touching of students, inappropriate hugging, and inappropriate discussions of sexual and reproductive topics."
Frenchtown school leaders placed Bashor on leave during the investigation. During his October court appearance, a judge ordered that Bashor would not be allowed on Frenchtown School property for the duration of this case. He also cannot have contact with the alleged victim or any witnesses and all communication must go through Bashor's attorney.
Cline said in March that he is satisfied with the internal investigation the school conducted regarding both cases, adding at the time that the District would not tolerate any retaliation against individuals who file complaints, participate in the complaint procedure or are the subject of a complaint.
Bashor's attorney Peter Lacny previously told MTN News that his client is denying any wrongdoing.
We will have more information on this developing story as it becomes available.