Published:June 3, 2021
On Monday, national media reported an explosive story in Colorado. A prominent Black Lives Matter activist, socialist, and Denver Public Schools board member, Tay Anderson, stepped back “from everyday board functions” while an independent investigation looks into startling allegations that he sexually abused 62 current and former students.
The alleged assaults range from unwanted touching to “violent rape” of students as young as 14 years old. Sixty-one of these students are purportedly illegal immigrants or recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The new allegations come two months after the group BLM5280, and past associates of Anderson’s at the (now-defunct) youth-led gun-control group Never Again Colorado accused him of past sexual assault and harassment.
Media reports about the accusations against Anderson, 22, have barely scratched the surface. Moreover, this saga reveals a broader story.
In June 2020, a DPS student approached BLM activist and “protest mom” Mary-Katherine Brooks Fleming at an event. Brooks Fleming is a mother of three DPS students and has helped finance BLM and other sympathetic causes. She was the adult this high school student trusted.
According to Brooks Fleming via Darcy Schoening, who runs the website The Colorado Herald, the teenager said Anderson had assaulted and subsequently intimidated her from reporting him. The student pleaded for her protection.
By August 2020, dozens of alleged survivors of Anderson’s abuse shared similar accounts with Brooks Fleming. They all feared retaliation.
“I’ll find you anywhere,” she said several victims recalled Anderson telling them.
Two girls, including a 14-year-old, were allegedly raped so brutally they required stitches.
Given their immigration status, the teenagers were terrified of Anderson and reporting their experiences to authorities for fear of deportation. Not wanting to violate their trust, Brooks Fleming says she didn’t report it.
Then on April 6, the district launched an “independent investigation” into the allegations raised in March and some claims DPS students previously made against the school board member. Anderson continued attending district activities, events, and high school graduations.
Unsatisfied with the district’s handling of things, Brooks Fleming testified before the Colorado Legislature on May 25 supporting S.B. 21-088, the Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act. During her emotional testimony, she alleged DPS had a sexual predator preying upon 62 individuals and accused the district of failing to act. Three days later, the Herald identified Anderson as the alleged perpetrator, prompting DPS to file a police report. A police investigation is underway.
I interviewed Schoening of the Herald in-depth on KNUS-Denver radio on Sunday about Brooks Fleming’s account. At the end of the interview, I called on Anderson to “recuse himself from further school board business” while these allegations were investigated.
Roughly an hour later, Anderson released a statement recusing himself “from everyday board functions until the completion of the independent investigation.” The school district subsequently clarified Anderson would “continue to vote on necessary matters before the Board including the hiring of a new superintendent.”
School is out, so Anderson’s “recusal,” which may last only a few weeks, means he won’t be at nonexistent school functions but will still get to vote on district policies and leadership. If Colorado’s largest school district is looking to send a chilling message to the young students alleging Anderson sexually assaulted them, this is the way to do it.
Unfortunately, Colorado is a microcosm of greater hypocrisy in the Democratic Party today. On Sunday, the Colorado High School Democrats courageously called for Anderson to resign. Denver Berniecrats retracted their 2019 endorsement; Our Revolution Metro Denver demanded his resignation.
Despite the gravity of these allegations, there have been nothing but crickets from the state party. The only Colorado Democrat of stature to comment is Attorney General Phil Weiser, who told me, “The allegations against Director Anderson are very disturbing. Each and every one of these allegations should be fully investigated, and, if warranted, prosecuted. Any person who committed such behavior should have no role in public office or a position of authority.”
Democrats far and wide, of course, joined with Anderson in strenuously opposing Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court over unsubstantiated sexual assault allegations from many decades ago. Anderson, who stands accused of far worse crimes against children as an adult, spoke at protests of Kavanaugh’s nomination in 2018.
This is the same party that widely ignored accusations of sexual harassment with actual, contemporary corroboration by Tara Reade against then-candidate Joe Biden. Apparently, Colorado is now a localized example of a broader, national phenomenon of Democrat #MeToo hypocrisy.