Band teacher accused of molesting 11-year-old girl - KCTV5

Band teacher accused of molesting 11-year-old girl

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According to a police report, an 11-year-old student at St. Thomas More Elementary, 11800 Holmes Rd., told a counselor that on several occasions a teacher grabbed her chest. (Brett Hacker/KCTV5) According to a police report, an 11-year-old student at St. Thomas More Elementary, 11800 Holmes Rd., told a counselor that on several occasions a teacher grabbed her chest. (Brett Hacker/KCTV5)
Tod Barnard mugshot Tod Barnard mugshot

A 53-year-old Catholic school teacher is in police custody after he allegedly groped a student's breast on multiple occasions.

In a letter to families, St. Thomas More Elementary Principal Brian Borgmeyer said that a second person at the school is on leave after a separate incident. No charges have been filed.

However, charges were filed by the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office on Friday after an 11-year-old student said she had been groped. Tod. A. Barnard, 53, of Independence was charged after being questioned by police.

Barnard is charged with two counts of second-degree child molestation and two counts of third-degree assault. These are misdemeanors.

The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph said Barnard was not paid by the diocese, but paid by the man who is on paid leave because of the second incident. Barnard was assistant band teacher at St. Thomas More where he taught percussion.

"While getting instruments ready, he would pretend to fall and touch her in places that made her uncomfortable," according to court records.

According to a police report, the 11-year-old student at St. Thomas More, located at 11800 Holmes Rd., told a counselor that on several occasions Barnard grabbed her chest.

The report goes on to say the student's parents said their daughter had been exhibiting signs of anxiety about attending band class at school.

When she unexpectedly told her parents that she no longer wanted to participate in band activities, her parents contacted the school's principal. A counselor at the school spoke to the girl.

The victim told the counselor that she had been touched inappropriately by the band teacher's assistant on several different occasions as far back as December, a police report stated.

According to the student, the teacher would act as if he had tripped into her and caught himself by grabbing her breast.

The student told police that she did not believe his tripping to be accidental, as it began occurring on a weekly basis. She told police that she even confronted Barnard and asked him to stop touching her.

He allegedly claimed he was clumsy, but the girl said he then found other ways to touch her.

According to court records, Barnard denied accidentally or intentionally groping the girl. He did admit that he had fallen into her and his hand had "hit her somewhere on her body," according to court records.

The police were contacted this week and a forensic interview of the girl was done on Thursday.

The girl's emotional mother declined comment Thursday.

In a separate incident, the school said they were informed on March 3 that the Independence Police Department was investigating an allegation of suspicious conduct by a second school employee.

The suspicious conduct was alleged to have occurred at or near a school in Independence, Borgmeyer said in a letter to parents on Thursday.

The teacher was placed on administrative leave during the investigation. No charges were ever filed, however, he remains on leave pending the completion of an internal investigation by the diocese.

The school did identify both men by name in a letter to parents. KCTV5 is not identifying the second man because he has not charged.

The diocese's internal review board will discuss the accusations against both men on March 26.

The letter has upset parents.

"You wonder about your kids' safety," said Tim Growney, who has two daughters at the school. "If things had been going on, how long have they been going on?"

Borgmeyer said St. Thomas More Elementary and the diocese had not previously received any report of inappropriate conduct by either men and both had undergone a background screening.

The two were required to complete safe environment training in accordance with diocesan policy for any person working with minors, Borgmeyer said.

Both the school and the diocese are cooperating with authorities in the investigations. The diocese asked parents with any information to contact the police.

"The diocese would like to express thanks and support to the KCPD, (Missouri) children's division and especially to the student who had the courage to speak up and tell the counselor about what happened to her. Disclosing sexual abuse is never easy and takes a tremendous amount of courage," diocese spokesman Jack Smith said in a statement.

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