As she used a tissue to dab her eyes, a teenage girl testified Tuesday that a band teacher touched her inappropriately several times when she was 11 years old.
The girl, now 13, described several encounters with Tod A. Barnard in the St. Thomas More School band room or the hallway just outside. He would appear to trip and fall and then place a hand on her breast while apparently trying to brace his fall, she said.
“He just kind of smiled and said it was an accident,” the girl testified Tuesday during Barnard’s trial on assault and child molestation charges.
It happened six to eight times, she said.
Barnard, now 55, was an assistant band teacher at the south Kansas City school, where he worked with percussion students. The school dismissed him in March 2014.
According to allegations in court documents, the incidents began in early December 2013.
After his 2014 arrest, Barnard told investigators that he remembered one time where he tripped and fell into the girl and the back of his hand touched her “somewhere on her body,” according to court documents.
He denied ever intentionally tripping or falling onto her.
On Tuesday, the girl described being the only fifth-grade percussion student in the fall of 2013.
She said the incidents involving Barnard occurred in the band room while other students were coming in and getting their instruments ready, or in the hallway just outside.
“He would kind of fall,” she told Kelsey Blackwell, assistant Jackson County prosecutor, adding that she was confused at first.
“I didn’t know what to think.”
She grew more upset “because it kept happening,” she said. It affected her enthusiasm for band and school in general.
“I asked to switch instruments. I did not want to be in percussion anymore. I would fake being sick and ask for medicine from the nurse.”
Melanie Morgan, defense attorney for Barnard, asked the girl about apparent inconsistencies between her testimony and what the girl told Morgan in an interview last week.
The girl agreed with Morgan that Barnard never tried to take her elsewhere in the school hallway, or outside the building.