St. Thomas More School in south Kansas City has fired two band instructors investigated by police for suspicious behavior.
One of the instructors, Tod A. Barnard, was charged earlier this month with sexually molesting an 11-year-old student. Police say Barnard on several occasions pretended to lose his balance and then touched the girl inappropriately when he fell. He has denied to police that his actions were intentional.
The other band instructor has not been charged with any crime, but the diocesan Independent Review Board recommended terminating his service based on the instructor’s “admitted violation of diocesan standards of behavior,” according to a letter sent to parents this week. The Star is not using his name because he has not been charged.
The school first contacted parents in a letter dated March 13 in which principal Brian Borgmeyer reported that the diocese had been informed by police March 3 of an investigation into behavior by the other instructor and that the school learned separately from police on March 6 that Barnard also was under investigation.
Each man was placed on administrative leave when the school learned of the allegations, Borgmeyer said.
The other instructor was terminated based on the diocese’s internal investigation, the principal said. The diocese is not further investigating Barnard at this time because his case is in the criminal justice system. But “caution dictates that St. Thomas More School also terminate its relationship with Mr. Barnard,” Borgmeyer wrote.
With the loss of the band instructors, other staff members have stepped in to continue working with the students as they prepare for a May concert. The school said counselors were on hand Friday to be available to students.
“The band program will continue,” the principal said. “… We at the school are very proud of the hard work and dedication of the band students.”