A Frenchtown music teacher has been charged with misdemeanor sexual assault in Missoula County Justice Court for allegedly fondling and attempting to kiss one of his female students, who is a minor.
According to an affidavit filed Monday, the case involved one of Troy Bashor's student aides, which prosecutors say gave him the opportunity to interact with her outside the classroom setting.
Frenchtown School District Superintendent Randy Cline said the school district learned of the charges Tuesday and that they were based on allegations from a "former" student. Cline confirmed the girl is no longer a student at Frenchtown.
"In the best interests of the Frenchtown School community, Mr. Bashor will be on leave with pay indefinitely," Cline said. "During this time, he will not perform any duties on behalf of the District."
The student reported that Bashor has been “touchy” in the past with her and other female students, according to the court documents.
She told prosecutors that several times, during school hours, Bashor put his hand on her behind over her clothes. She also told them Bashor had previously lifted up her shirt and touched her belly button during school hours, according to the affidavit.
At one point, she allegedly told Bashor she was interested in becoming a massage therapist and Bashor offered to teach her specific techniques, even demonstrating some. The victim said that once, Bashor pulled her onto his lap while she was proofreading his emails and that when she abruptly got off, he said, “My wife will be here soon anyways and I’m sure she wouldn’t like that.”
The student said that on Dec. 20, 2016, she and another student were in the theater during the school day helping Bashor take down a set from a play. She was trying to hang a curtain on the stage when, she said, Bashor approached her and “placed his hand on her butt.”
She moved away and the other student left the theater. At that point, she said, Bashor followed her and tried to hug her. She pulled away, but Bashor allegedly grabbed her arms and “flung” them over his shoulders. She said Bashor then “stuck his hands up” the girl’s shirt and moved his hands toward her breast, according to the affidavit.
She said she pulled away, but Bashor advanced toward her with “his eyes closed, his mouth open and head tilted” in attempt to kiss her, according to the affidavit. She said she jumped back to avoid this contact, at which point Bashor said, “Oh, that was awkward.” The other student then returned to the room.
The Missoula County Sheriff's Office was notified by the Child Abuse Hotline on Jan. 11 that it had information indicating a Frenchtown High School student had been sexually abused by Bashor.
A Missoula County Sheriff’s deputy spoke with Bashor, who denied touching the student.
The crime is punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine.
Little has been known publicly about the case since early April, when the Missoula County Attorney’s Office sent the file back to the sheriff’s detective, asking for further investigation.
In March, a student at Frenchtown High School was granted an order of protection against Bashor by Justice of the Peace Landee Holloway after the girl reported he inappropriately touched and molested her. The order of protection lists sexual assault as its basis.
In her request for the order of protection, the student described several incidents in which Bashor allegedly touched her in ways — including sliding his hands under her shirt and into her pants — that made her so uncomfortable that she pulled away from him.
The student said she wanted to be in school but feels "unsafe." She described feeling anxious and nauseous when she sees him, according to the protection order.
Bashor, who teaches music to grades five through 12, has been at the school since the order of protection was put in place. Under its limitations he was able to continue to work, but could not approach the girl.
A second girl told school officials Bashor has touched her inappropriately over the course of three school years.
At the start of the year, after learning of the girls’ allegations, Frenchtown School District conducted an internal Title IX investigation that ended with Bashor being suspended for three days.
“Based on his own admissions and the statements of the students filing complaints, as well as several witnesses, Mr. Bashor has broken several professional boundaries with female students,” said a report summarizing the district’s investigation.
Cline said in the spring that not all of the girls’ allegations were brought to the district’s attention during the investigation.
In early 2016 another Frenchtown teacher, Michael Botsford, was charged with endangering the welfare of children, a misdemeanor, for exchanging thousands of text messages — including ones that were sexual — with a student. Botsford resigned from the school after being put on leave in April 2015, around the same time that a criminal investigation into his conduct began. He eventually pleaded guilty and received a six-month suspended sentence.