An Independence man has been charged with child molestation in an incident at St. Thomas More School in Kansas City.
Tod A. Barnard, 53, who had been serving as a band instructor’s assistant at the Catholic school on Holmes Road in southern Kansas City, has been charged with two counts of second-degree child molestation and two counts of third-degree assault.
Barnard, who was assisting a band instructor from Independence, allegedly would repeatedly pretend to trip in class and touch the 11-year-old victim on her breast.
The victim told police that it would happen about once a week and he continued to do it even after she confronted him and asked him to stop. He would also allegedly touch her inappropriately in the hallway and told the victim that he liked her shirt.
When St. Thomas More School learned of the allegation Monday, it immediately placed Barnard on administrative leave and made a report to the Missouri Department of Social Services’ Children’s Division. Barnard was arrested at his Independence home on 11th Street Thursday morning.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker praised officials at the school for acting quickly and reporting the allegation to the Children’s Division.
“This is exactly what is required under Missouri law for mandated reporters,” Peters Baker said in a press release.
The diocese also released a statement applauding the child and the police.
“The Diocese would like to express thanks and support to the KCPD, children’s division and especially to the student who had the courage to speak up and tell the counselor about what happened to her. Disclosing sexual abuse is never easy and takes a tremendous amount of courage.”
Prosecutors have requested a bond of $10,000 at 10 percent secured.
A letter to parents from St. Thomas More principal Brian Borgmeyer said that Barnard and the band instructor who hired him had been placed on administrative leave by the school for a pair of alleged unrelated incidents.
The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph said it learned on March 3 that the band instructor from Independence, a part-time contractor who had hired Barnard to assist him, was under investigation by Independence police for alleged suspicious conduct near an Independence school. The diocese placed the band instructor on administrative leave pending the outcome of the police’s investigation.
Then on March 6, the school learned of the separate allegation of inappropriate behavior by Barnard.
Borgmeyer said in his letter that the Independence police’s investigation had concluded without the band instructor being charged with any crimes, but also said the band instructor remains on leave pending the diocese’s internal investigation. The band instructor’s fate with St. Thomas More School will be determined by the diocesan Internal Review Board in a discussion set for March 26, diocese spokeperson Jack Smith said.
Borgmeyer said in his letter to the students’ parents that the school had never received reports of any wrongdoing by the two men previously.
“Both men had undergone background screening, and were required to complete safe environment training per diocesan policy for any person working with minors,” Borgmeyer wrote. “Both the school and the Diocese are cooperating with law enforcement authorities in these investigations.”
Anyone with information on either investigation is asked to call the Independence Police Department at 816-325-7330 or the Kansas City Police Department at 816-234-5150. Parents with concerns are asked to the the diocese’s ombudsman Jenifer Valenti at 816-812-2500.