School administrators had few answers Wednesday for why Jason David Barker — a convicted felon and special-education teacher now charged with molesting his students — was able to land job after job at area charter and private schools.
Barker was director of the special-education program at La Crescent Montessori Academy until earlier this month, when several of his students confronted him at school in a plea to stop the abuse, prosecutors said...La Crescent Montessori school administrator Tammy Stremcha declined to comment Wednesday about Barker and referred all questions to the school’s attorney, Dawn Harris.Harris declined to comment on the school’s procedure for hiring new employees, and would not say if the school conducts background checks...Barker’s latest charges accuse him of ongoing inappropriate relationships with at least three young girls at La Crescent Montessori Academy, offering what one described as “weird touches,” hugging, and requests they sit on his lap only after he closed the door...According to court records, Barker was convicted in Minnesota’s Ramsey County of felony criminal damage to property in 1995, and of third-degree burglary in 1994. No further details on those crimes were available Wednesday.He was charged in Anoka County in September 2006 with disorderly conduct and furnishing alcohol to minors, according to court records. He pleaded guilty later that year to the count of disorderly conduct, and the furnishing alcohol charge was dismissed, records show...Barker was already working at the La Crescent Montessori Academy in May, when prosecutors say he brandished a knife, reached into a car and threatened to stab a couple he accused of cutting him off during a bicycle ride on the east end of Winona.Barker pleaded not guilty. The school promoted him to special-education director four months later...
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La Crescent Montessori Academy
“Teacher's arrest begs more questions.” La Crosse Tribune (WI), 1/31/2013