This story was originally published by Chalkbeat Colorado. More at chalkbeat.org.
Tay Anderson says he will step away from his Denver school board duties until the completion of an independent investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
“These unsubstantiated false allegations have caused a great deal of trauma to our entire district, and our students deserve better,” he wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “These false claims have put my family and I in harm’s way, and now as a father and son, I must protect those I love first, therefore I will be stepping back from everyday board functions until the completion of the independent investigation.”
Anderson announced his decision two days after the school board announced it was aware of new allegations against him.
Anderson is under investigation by an outside firm hired by Denver Public Schools. The district launched the investigation after the civil rights group Black Lives Matter 5280 said in March that a woman came to them to report that Anderson had sexually assaulted her.
Separate from that accusation, former members of anti-gun violence group Never Again Colorado said that Anderson engaged in inappropriate behavior when he was the group’s president in 2018.
Then this week, Denver parent Mary-Katherine Brooks Fleming testified before a Colorado legislative committee that 62 young people, nearly all of them current Denver high school students, came to her starting in August seeking help and protection from a specific man “in a position of trust.” She said they had experienced abuse ranging from unwanted touching to violent rape.
Brooks Fleming did not name Anderson in her testimony, but on Friday, the Denver school board said it was aware of allegations of sexual abuse and that those allegations were against Anderson. The Denver Police Department said it has spoken to Brooks Fleming but has not heard directly from any victims.
Also on Sunday, the Colorado High School Democrats, a group that Anderson once chaired, called for him to resign.
“Director Anderson has lost the confidence of the students and families of his school district,” current High School Democrats Chair Spencer Wilcox said in a statement. “Students, including our many members in DPS, should not have to be afraid of one of their school board members. He must resign.”