Family files lawsuit against Dawson, former teacher accused of sexual abuse

The family of one of the students who was allegedly sexually assaulted by an Alexander Dawson School music teacher have filed a complaint against the school and the former teacher.

Da’Jon Tyrik James, 28, is charged with two counts of sexual assault of a child by a person in a position of trust and unlawful sexual touching.

Da’Jon Tyrik James (Boulder County Sheriff’s Office / Courtesy Photo)

According to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, MPs were contacted in February by Boulder County Child Protective Services about a possible sexual assault on a student by a teacher.

During the investigation, detectives met four students from Dawson School and their parents. Two of the students were 17 at the time, one was 18 and another was 19, according to the press release. They reported that James, who was their music teacher at Dawson School, sexually touched them. They said the touching began in January and continued until the report was made on February 4.

The four students said they were subjected to inappropriate language, sexually explicit images, prolonged hugs, hugs, inappropriate complements and inappropriate kisses on the forehead, the statement said. All four students said the alleged incidents happened on school property during school hours.

Dawson School is a private kindergarten to grade 12 school in Lafayette.

On September 30, the family of one of the students named as a victim in the case filed a lawsuit against James and Dawson, citing “the school’s callous disregard for the safety and well-being of its students – this which seems to correspond to a long-standing model of concealment and minimization of sexual assaults on its campus and of marginalization of the victims of these assaults.

Dawson officials did not return requests for comment.

According to the lawsuit, James resigned his previous teaching job in California after similar allegations arose, and discussed the allegations with other teachers in August 2020 at a faculty meeting while s ‘investigating Dawson’s policies on sexual misconduct.

According to the lawsuit, concerns about those comments were passed on to Ann Carson, principal of Dawson College at the time, but the school took no action.

The victim named in the lawsuit was a minor at the time, and according to the complaint, James began arranging a one-on-one date with her outside of the presence of other students and sometimes outside of the classroom. class hours.

According to the lawsuit, James inappropriately touched the girl, slapped her in the face when he was unhappy with her vocal performance, and started texting her.

“James abused his position of trust as a teacher, engaged in classic ‘grooming’ behaviors with Mary and several other students, and harassed and sexually assaulted Mary and several other students,” it reads in the trial.

At the end of January, the girl spoke to her parents about James’ behavior, and the parents brought the allegations to the attention of the school.

The school then “allowed James to resign” but, according to the complaint, did not contact police and said the allegations were in a “gray area” with regard to mandatory reporting.

“Rather than immediately reporting what was clearly a crime committed by a teacher against a student, the Dawson administration played down James’ egregious behavior and failed to protect (the student),” the lawsuit says .

The lawsuit also claims that the school sent an email announcing James’ resignation, but did not state the reason for his departure despite some students still taking private lessons with him.

“In addition, Dawson asked the professors not to tell anyone about what happened regarding James’ departure,” the lawsuit says. “This led to James staying with a faculty member who was unaware of James’ behavior and who had young children at home.”

Then on April 13, James was seen on the Dawson campus as the school said he would not be allowed to return, prompting some of the named victims to go into hiding in the school theater. for fear of reprisals.

According to court records, this is the only civil lawsuit against James and the school at present.

James, who is not being held on $ 10,000 personal recognizance bond, saw his arraignment hearing postponed Friday to Jan. 12.

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