Denver school board member Tay Anderson denied accusations of sexual misconduct at a news conference Sunday and said he welcomed a “full investigation” even as more allegations surfaced throughout the weekend.
“I just want to be able to know the truth,” Anderson said Sunday, “and if there is something I did, then of course I would take accountability. I wouldn’t run from it.”
On Friday, Black Lives Matter 5280 issued a statement saying a woman approached the group in February to say Anderson had sexually assaulted her. The woman wishes to remain anonymous, it said. The allegations “have not gone through a formal legal process,” the statement said; rather, the woman requested Anderson issue a public apology and seek help.
On Saturday, Anderson issued his own statement. “I have not sexually assaulted anyone,” he said. Anderson said he couldn’t take the steps requested of him “until I and the broader community have more comprehensive information.”
The allegations caused an uproar on social media and divided people in the progressive, activist, and teachers union circles from which Anderson draws support. Some declared they “stand with survivors” and said the Black Lives Matter group would not have brought such a serious accusation without a good reason. Others expressed skepticism because the accuser has not come forward herself and because Anderson is a frequent target of conservative critics.
Black Lives Matter 5280 tweeted Saturday that it would “not allow the survivor from yesterday’s statement or any of the other women who came forward afterward to be bullied into showing their faces. … We will release a follow-up statement when the alleged survivors are ready.”
On Sunday, Anderson held a news conference at brother jeff’s Cultural Center in northeast Denver, a community space run by local activist brother jeff Fard. An emotional Anderson stood with supporters, his mother, and a woman he identified as the mother of his child who is due in a few months, and addressed reporters. A lawyer he hired, Christopher Decker, spoke first.
Decker called the sexual assault allegations “a creature of the media at this point,” and said there are no criminal or civil investigations underway. He also refuted statements made by a former leader in an anti-gun violence group of which Anderson was president.
That leader, Madison Rose, was vice president of Never Again Colorado while Anderson was president. They co-founded the group in 2018 after the Parkland school shooting but it disbanded within the year, after board members raised concerns privately about financial mismanagement and sexual harassment.