Crime

Second suit alleging sexual misconduct filed against Harrisonville School District

Joe Dahman, son of Harrisonville superintendent, faces scrutiny

A Cass County school district is on edge after an educator was tied to an investigation of inappropriate contact with at least one student.
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A Cass County school district is on edge after an educator was tied to an investigation of inappropriate contact with at least one student.

A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a second student alleging a former Harrisonville High School staff member harassed and had sexual contact with her.

It’s the second lawsuit to be filed within a month, naming the staff member, Joseph Dahman, and the Harrisonville School District.

Dahman, who was a focus facilitator and an assistant coach, resigned from the school district in 2017.

Dahman’s father, who was superintendent of the school district at the time, is also listed as a defendant in the suit. Frank Dahman retired last June.

The first lawsuit was filed in January on behalf of a girl, identified only as Jane Doe, who was 14 when she attended Harrisonville High School during the 2016-2017 school year. The lawsuit alleged Dahman had an inappropriate relationship with the girl that involved the sharing of pornographic images, use of illegal substances and sexual contact.

The latest lawsuit filed Monday in Cass County Circuit Court cites similar allegations involving another female student.

The student, identified in court records under the name Ann Doe, was assigned to a focus room at the high school in March 2017 where Dahman was a facilitator.

According to the suit, Dahman allegedly had sexual contact with the student, who was under 18, showed her pornographic material and sent her explicit messages and images.

The suit said the sexual contact took place from April 2017 to July 2017 at locations off school property and at his home.

In one instance, Dahman allegedly invited Doe to a house he shared with his father. At the home, Dahman had sex with her and gave her “mind altering substances including marijuana,” the lawsuit said.

The suit also suggested Dahman failed to take action after Doe told him that another employee in the school district touched her in an inappropriate manner. The employee in question is not named in the suit.

Dahman cautioned Doe to be careful about contacting him at school because other teachers made comments to him about how close he was with her, the lawsuit said.

Despite “having notice of Joseph Dahman’s inappropriate contact with Jane Doe,” another student at the high school, the lawsuit said the school district and staff members failed to intervene and protect Ann Doe.

A spokeswoman for the school district said Friday in an email: “As this is a personnel and legal matter, the district cannot comment at this time.”

Dahman did not return a message seeking comment.

Dahman was the subject of a 2017 Harrisonville police investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct between him and a student.

No criminal charges have been filed since Harrisonville police turned over its case to Jackson County prosecutors late in 2017.

The Harrisonville Police Department is investigating an alleged case of sexual misconduct that occurred between a teacher and a student.

Kaitlyn Schwers: 816-234-7909, @kaitlynschwers

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Kaitlyn Schwers covers breaking news and crime at night for The Kansas City Star. Originally from Willard, Mo., she spent nearly three years reporting in Arkansas and Illinois before returning to Missouri and joining The Star in 2017.


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