MISSOULA - A Frenchtown music teacher now faces a felony sexual assault charge after prosecutors say he inappropriately touched a female student on a near daily-basis.
Missoula Deputy County Attorney Brian Lowney filed the charge in Missoula County Justice Court on Monday against Frenchtown teacher Troy Bashor. This new charge comes after a separate misdemeanor sexual assault charge was filed against him in October involving another student.
Bashor pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor in November. That first student claimed Bashor sexually harassed and groped her on several occasions in 2016.
Prosecutors say the new charge stems from inappropriate contact that spanned from the summer of 2014 to early 2017. The girl involved in the new charge reported the contact escalated from hugging to groping.
The student said the first incident happened when she was in 7th grade. In court documents she reported to her mother about the inappropriate hugging and was confused about it and asked her mother if it was appropriate. The mother reported the touching to Frenchtown administrators who then told the student and her parents that Bashor was warned to stop such contact.
However, that student indicated that though the touching stopped for several months, it began again at the end of 2014 and continued through her next two years in school.
She told authorities she believes that the defendant has touched her in some way every day since the touching began again at the end of seventh grade.
Bashor has acknowledged that he had touched the student’s lower back on at least one occasion, but characterized such touching as “innocuous.”
Meanwhile, a new judge is being assigned to hear the civil suit being brought against the Frenchtown School District and Superintendent Randy Cline over its handling of the original complaint against Bashor. The parents of the girl in the first complaint are suing the District and Cline in U.S. District Court.
The case was originally assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen, but now the proceeding has been transferred to veteran Judge Donald Molloy.
A pre-trial conference is scheduled for early March.
-- Connor McCauley contributed to this report