The attorney whose firm represents the Frenchtown School District in a federal lawsuit was arrested for DUI on Feb 3. Elizabeth Kaleva is also representing the district in a justice court suit seeking the release of confidential criminal information related to a misdemeanor sexual assault case involving former Frenchtown High School music teacher Troy Bashor.

Kaleva was ticketed by a Montana State Trooper west of Missoula for driving under the influence—4th or subsequent offense. Kaleva had three prior DUIs in 2013, 2002 and 1992 according to the citation. While a fourth DUI is normally a felony charge, this one is being charged as a misdemeanor, indicating that one of the previous DUIs may have been expunged or otherwise removed.

Kaleva was released on $10,000 bail plus an additional $85 fine for driving with expired plates. A hearing is scheduled at the end of the month for the reinstatement of her driver’s license, which was suspended following her arrest.

Kaleva’s defense attorney, Peter Lacny, is also defending Bashor against sexual assault charges in Missoula County. “It is a private issue Ms. Kaleva is working through, and it has not affected her work,” Lacny wrote in an emailed response to a request for comment from the Independent.

Earlier this month, Missoula County Deputy County Attorney Brian Lowney asked a judge to deny the Frenchtown district’s request for information from Bashor’s criminal investigation, which the district says it needs for its own internal investigation. Since Frenchtown made its request, shortly after the federal suit was filed against the district, Bashor has been charged with an additional felony sexual assault on a second female student.  

“It is unclear to the State what ‘investigation’ the applicant intends to undertake, especially in light of the fact that the Defendant has already been suspended by the applicant and charged with two criminal offenses by the State,” Lowney wrote in response to the district’s request for information. “The applicant’s prior ‘investigation’ resulted in the applicant’s superintendent publically [sic] expressing skepticism regarding the victims’ accounts of the abuse and in the Defendant being placed back into the school the victims attended almost immediately.” Lowney is referring to a Missoulian editorial published last March written by Frenchtown Superintendent Randy Cline, who is a named co-defendant with the school district in a federal Title IX lawsuit filed by the parents of one of the alleged victims. Both Cline and the district are represented by the Kaleva Law Firm, which specializes in education law, and has also represented Missoula County Public Schools.

Staff Reporter

Susan Elizabeth Shepard lived in Missoula from 2008 to 2011 before returning in 2017 to work at the Independent. She is also a two-time resident of Austin, TX, and Portland, OR, with an interest in labor, music and sports. @susanelizabeth on Twitter.

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