Tay Anderson, Wanda James

Tay Anderson and Wanda James, owner of Simply Pure, embrace after James spoke at a March 28 news conference regarding anonymous sexual assault allegations against Anderson. Courtesy Jeff Fard's Facebook page. 

The Denver Public Schools Board of Education announced Tuesday it will hire an independent investigator to look into allegations involving board member at-large Tay Anderson.

The Board hired Investigations Law Group. That's the same firm that was hired by the Colorado General Assembly to conduct a legislative workplace investigation in the wake of harassment allegations in 2018 that led to the expulsion of former state Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton.

In a statement Tuesday, the DPS board said that their "first commitment is to serving the students, employees and community of Denver Public Schools. We want to create space for all members of our community to be heard, while we also ensure a fair process for everyone involved. Director Anderson has been informed about this investigation and supports a fair and thorough process."

Those who wish to contribute to the fact-finding process should contact the firm at interviews@ilgdenver.com. All communication will remain confidential.

On March 26, Anderson was accused of sexual assault in an unsigned statement posted on several social media sites by BlackLivesMatter5280. An unidentified woman went to the group in February, asked for a public apology from Anderson and that he seek help. 

The following day, Anderson issued a statement on Twitter denying the allegations, noting that the BLM5280 statement did not include a first name, date or location of the alleged conduct, and that he was never contacted by BLM5280 about the allegation.

"I am unclear why BLM5280 thinks this approach is in the spirit of restorative/transformative justice as they claim," he said in the statement.

Anderson called the allegation "gut-wrenching," adding, "I have not sexually assaulted anyone. I am not aware of any actions of mine that could be considered or construed as sexual assault," nor of any past partners who would make that claim.

Until there is "more comprehensive information," he said he would not take the action requested by BLM5280 "or address conduct I have no knowledge of." He concluded that he looked forward to getting more information from those "directly impacted or their chosen representatives in whatever way they feel safe."

Anderson held a press conference on March 28, continuing to deny the BLM5280 allegations but pledging to cooperate with any investigation.

On Monday, Westword's Michael Roberts reported that six new allegations have surfaced from women associated with Never Again Colorado, a gun reform organization that has since disbanded. According to Westword, Anderson served as the group's president in 2018. 

The Westword story said the six women claimed Anderson "created a work environment that made them feel unsafe by, among other things, 'talking in code about female board members in front of them (with romantic/sexual subtexts), daring female board members to perform sexualized actions, having conversations comparing the attractiveness of female board members, and making lewd comments in private to female board members.'"

Anderson responded to Westword's request for comment with an apology to the women. 

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