On April 6, the Denver Board of Education announced that it had authorized an independent investigation into accusations made regarding boardmember Tay Anderson. On March 26, Black Lives Matter 5280 had released a claim that Anderson had sexually assaulted a woman whose name was not released; this assertion was followed by confirmation that Denver Public Schools had previously found that Anderson had used social media to retaliate against a whistleblower who alleged harassment by a former high school principal. Then came accusations made by six female former colleagues, who say that Anderson created an unsafe work environment.
Anderson has acknowledged the retaliation finding and apologized to the six women with whom he worked at Never Again Colorado, a gun reform organization. "Now and in the future, I plan to engage and consult with restorative and transformative justice professionals to fully understand the harm I have caused in the past and to help ensure I do not repeat it," Anderson said.
In response to news of the Board of Education's investigation into the sexual assault assertion, however, he issued a statement that includes this line: "I have done nothing which would substantiate claims of sexual assault or unlawful behaviors."
The probe will be conducted by Investigations Law Group, whose website says that it specializes in "providing strategic response services to private industry, business and educational clients geared toward building the workplace and college communities of the future. At ILG, we have worked since 1995 providing sophisticated response solutions to conflict and crisis mediation, and building intentional cultures where people do their best work and learning every day."
The description continues: "The first response to crisis in an organization is frequently a swift and impartial investigation. At ILG, we conduct this work at the highest level in the field. Our proprietary team, data analysis process, Wall Street-level writing, client care program and top tier talent are just a few ways that ILG stands apart from other investigations firms. Our investigators are trained in workplace and Title IX investigations, including trauma informed interviewing."
Here's the announcement from the Denver Board of Education, followed by Anderson's response.
In response to allegations made public against Denver Public Schools Board Director Tay Anderson, and in fairness to all parties involved, the Denver Public Schools Board of Education is authorizing a thorough and independent fact-finding investigation. The Board has secured an agreement with Investigations Law Group.
In our role as a Board, our first commitment is to serving the students, employees and community of Denver Public Schools. We want to create space for all members of our community to be heard, while we also ensure a fair process for everyone involved. Director Anderson has been informed about this investigation and supports a fair and thorough process.
The Board looks forward to an independent view of the facts while we continue to serve the DPS community and focus on the important work of identifying a new superintendent and supporting our schools and students as we continue to reinvent education in the midst of a pandemic. Until the investigation is complete, the board will not make any additional statement.
Tay Anderson's statement:
As I stated publicly on March 28th, I welcome any and all fair investigations into the anonymous claims which have been made against me. I have done nothing which would substantiate claims of sexual assault or unlawful behaviors.
There are still no criminal investigations, charges or specific allegations which I can even respond to. I am grateful to the Denver Public Schools for launching an independent, third party investigation and look forward to a transparent process. I will cooperate to the fullest extent with this independent team and am focused on the important work for the students of the Denver Public School system. I ask only that which DPS has also requested, namely to allow this investigation to proceed without further public comment by the parties involved.