By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4) – Denver Public School Board Director Tay Anderson announced on Wednesday he was ending his self-imposed leave of absence and is getting back to work. Anderson stepped away as the district hired a law firm to investigate allegations made online.

“I do not make this decision lightly and the independent investigation has bogged down and drifted into new areas and dragged well past the timeline that we agree to. We still remain committed to engaging in a fair, transparent, independent investigation; however no credible evidence has emerged to support any of the allegations of sexual assault against me. And I have not been arrested. I’m still here,” Anderson said during an hour-long press conference Wednesday evening.

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“In reality DPS staff has thrown this young man under the bus, and they’ve done that from the beginning,” said Anderson’s attorney Chris Decker. “They have treated him like he is guilty based on anonymous allegations.”

Both Decker and Anderson say the investigation by the law firm DPS hired has become lengthy and unfocused. They claim the length proves no allegations have come forward or been substantiated.

Anderson sent an open letter to fellow board members detailing why he’s decided to return despite the ongoing investigation.

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Wednesday, the six other members of the DPS board released this joint statement:

Although there are no public Board duties for the month of July, we are very much aware of the importance of resolving this investigation so the Board can get back to the work of supporting our students, schools, and educators when they return to school in August.

One of the reasons that the Board launched this investigation was because, consistent with our values, we believed a young Black man deserved due process and a fair evaluation of anonymous allegations that were made on social media.  We hired independent, neutral, and trained investigators to review these claims. Because they are independent, it is not our role to tell them to shut down their investigation early, before they believe they have gathered and reviewed all available evidence.

It’s also important to note that the Board does not have authority to suspend Director Anderson from his duties.  Director Anderson voluntarily agreed to step back from his duties during the remainder of the investigation. The Board has taken no action that would prevent him from attending and participating in all the Board meetings in August.

Anderson indicated there’s hard feelings stemming from the months long investigation.

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“We’re going to have to do some restorative justice before we go back and say everything’s back to normal. We have students that feel they are afraid of me, we have teachers that are afraid of me, we have principals that feel like they are afraid of me. They have painted me to be this angry Black man and figure that people should be afraid of. That’s now how we work in restorative justice,” He said.

He says he’s coming back now, during a break in normal board meetings because he needs to get back up to speed before a board retreat in early August. He says he’s been locked out of district communications.

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“We’ve got to get back to work now,” Anderson said.

Jeff Todd