Former Choir Director Admits to Sexual Abuse in Plea Deal
On Monday, December 17, a former choir director who worked for La Crosse School District pleaded guilty to five counts of second-degree sexual assault of a child as part of a plea agreement with the La Crosse County district attorney. Fourteen additional charges against 34-year-old Dustin Bagstad were dismissed but will be considered during his sentencing on April 9 in La Crosse County Circuit Court.
In total, Bastad was charged with:
- 10 counts of second-degree sexual assault of a child,
- 6 counts of sexual assault of a child by a person who works or volunteers with a child,
- 2 counts of exposing genitals/pubic area/intimate parts to a child
- 1 count of repeated sexual assault of the same child
According to the criminal complaint, Bagstad exchanged inappropriate photos, sexually assaulted, and had sex with two different students between 2010 and 2017. He admitted to being involved in a sexual relationship in 2016 and 2017 with a Logan High School student.
The second victim told police that Bagstad first sexually assaulted her in 2010, when she was a 15-year-old sophomore student at Central High School. She said that Bagstad assaulted her 30 to 40 times over the next nine months.
Legal Options For Victims of Sexual Abuse by School Employees
With a background as a sex crimes prosecutor, attorney contributor Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com now represents victims of sexual assault in civil lawsuits. Here is some insight from Brian into the legal options available to school sexual abuse victims and their families:
Schools should be safe havens and enriching environments where children can learn and grow into well-rounded adults. We entrust teachers and other school employees with our children throughout the week, so it’s critical that these individuals are deserving of this trust. But unfortunately, sexual predators often seek out such positions of trust and exploit these positions in order to sexually abuse children.
When a school employee sexually abuses a child, we must make sure that they are held criminally responsible. Additionally, in some cases, the school district also deserves to be held accountable for negligence that allowed the abuse to occur. For example, a school district might be considered negligent for failing to report suspected abuse to law enforcement in a timely manner or for failing to run a background check before hiring a new employee.
In cases that involve negligence, the victims and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit.
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused by a school employee, we understand the difficulties your family faces. If you’d like to learn more about your legal options, consider speaking to an experienced sexual abuse survivors attorney.