The Frenchtown High School music teacher who is facing misdemeanor sexual assault charges in Missoula County Justice Court—and whose behavior is at the center of a freshly filed civil suit against the Frenchtown School District and Superintendent Randy Cline—is still serving as an officer of a state choir teacher’s association, and until last year worked as a music director and percussionist with Missoula Children’s Theatre.
Teacher Troy Bashor, who is not named in the civil suit, pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in November. His name appears on the website of the Montana chapter of the American Choral Directors Association as its president-elect. Requests for comment from the association’s national office and from the state chapter’s current president had not been returned as of Thursday afternoon. The American Choral Directors Association is a national organization of choir teachers at elementary through collegiate levels. Most of the Montana officers are high school choir directors, according to the state chapter’s website.
Bashor has also worked with Missoula Children’s Theatre as a musical director and percussionist. Terri Elander, MCT’s public relations director, says Bashor is not currently working with the theater. “In the past we have contracted with him,” Elander says. “I will say our experience with him has been very positive.” Elander could not say whether Bashor might work with MCT in the future. “At this time we need to respect the legal process and allow it to run its course,” Elander says.
Bashor has been suspended from Frenchtown High School with pay since criminal charges were filed in October. Last week, the parents of the student Bashor is accused of molesting (called “Jane Doe” in legal filings) filed a lawsuit against the Frenchtown School District and Superintendent Randy Cline in federal district court in Missoula. The suit claims violations of four different Title IX protections by the school district and Cline, and says “FSD had actual notice of Mr. Bashor’s severe and pervasive sexual harassment of students at Frenchtown High School for two years before Doe was sexually harassed and assaulted.” The district conducted an internal Title IX investigation and suspended Bashor with pay for two days in January because he had, the district’s report said, “shown poor judgment in maintaining professional boundaries.”
The federal lawsuit requests a jury trial to determine damages for the student and her family, who have since left Frenchtown.
-- UPDATE Friday 1:45 p.m. --
The Montana ACDA appears to have updated the home page of its website last night to show that the current president-elect is Charlotte Colliver of Sacajawea Middle School in Bozeman. Reached by phone Friday morning, current chapter president Amy Logan said that Bashor resigned the office in October. “It’s my understanding that charges hadn’t been filed when he pulled out,” Logan says. “When he first called me and said, ‘Here’s the situation,’ and he couldn't really go into details, I went to my higher-ups and said how do I handle this, and we were in the process of putting a plan in place and he ended up preempting that,” she says. Logan says that while she doesn't think the state chapter bylaws contain procedures regarding criminal charges being filed against a teacher, she thought the national leadership would have guidance to offer. The ACDA’s national office has not yet replied to requests for comment.