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Greeley-Evans school board member publically censured, he denies allegations

3:54 PM, May 19, 2011   |    comments
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The public censure against board member Brett Reese came on a unanimous vote by the board Thursday morning.

Reese has defended himself against accusations he touched a teacher in a "sexually suggestive nature" and showed up to a school board meeting "under the influence" of alcohol.

READ THE FULL PUBLIC CENSURE

Both the school district and Reese said the alleged encounter took place May 9 at the Winogard K-8 school, where Reese said he complimented an "older first grade teacher on her wedding ring."

"I briefly touched her ring finger while we admired the carat-and-a-half diamond," Reese said. "This is the only touch that happened."

Reese also said he was with his 13-year-old daughter at the time of the incident in the teacher's classroom.

In response to the alcohol allegations, he said, "I have never been intoxicated in my entire life."

He released a statement to the Greeley Gazette.

Still, the school board proceeded with the censure against him.

"We followed board policy in trying to get Mr. Reese to talk to us," Board President Linda Trimberger said.

Asked for proof of the alleged incident of sexual harassment, Trimberger said she could not comment further than the board's statement of censure.

"We have the investigative report and that's as much as I can say," she said.
Tuesday, Trimberger sent Reese a letter outlining a complaint from a teacher that he "engaged in conduct, including inappropriate touching and comments of a sexually suggestive nature, which violates board policies."

Wednesday morning, the Weld County District 6 School Board met in closed session to discuss the issue, but not before objection from Reese.

"I would like to object, on the grounds that the executive session will be concerning me," he said to the board. "And so on that basis, I'd like to have an open meeting."

The board adjourned, Reese left the meeting, and they came back into a closed session for about an hour without him present.

The school board and Reese are no stranger to each other's controversy. Reese stirred up passions among the board and community in January when he played an editorial on his local radio station calling Martin Luther King Jr. a "sexual degenerate" and a "communist."

The board released a statement disagreeing with Reese's position, while Reese has denounced the board publicly.

"I have no time for this absurd stupidity," he said in a statement. "I do appreciate this board not addressing the subject of educating our kids. It will do less harm to them."
The school board called another meeting Thursday with an agenda item on whether to publicly censure Reese. They agreed Thursday morning to do so.

The board has no authority to remove Reese from the school board, unless he misses three consecutive meetings, according to a district spokesman.

He released a letter from the school board about the teacher's complaint. The letter says he's also been accused of being under the influence of alcohol at a board meeting.  

Read the letter below:

Re: Allegations of Inappropriate Conduct

Dear Mr. Reese:

The Board has received a complaint that on Monday, May 9, you approached a teacher in her classroom at Winograd K-8 and engaged in conduct, including inappropriate touching and comments of a sexually suggestive nature, which violates multiple board policies. In addition, there were allegations that you attended the Board meeting on May 9 while under the influence of alcohol.

This conduct, if it occurred, violates the Board's policies for School Board Member Conduct (BC), Sexual Discrimination and Harassment (GBAA), and the Code of Ethics for School Board Members (BCA-E-1).

In accordance with Board policy (BCC), I attempted to discuss this matter with you privately last week but you refused to meet, and the Board intended to discuss it with you in executive session during our meeting on Monday night, May 16th but you left the meeting before we could convene the executive session.

We have scheduled special meetings of the Board for both Wednesday and Thursday mornings at 8:00 a.m. in the Board room at the District administration building. It is the intent of the Board to meet in executive session on Wednesday morning to allow you the opportunity to respond to the most recent allegations of inappropriate conduct. If you fail or refuse to attend this meeting, the Board will complete its investigation and take action based upon the available information.

If you cannot attend the meeting Wednesday morning because of a legitimate scheduling conflict, please contact me immediately.

Sincerely,

Linda J. Trimberger, President

 

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)

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