Charges filed against Dahman

Joseph F. Dahman, a former Harrisonville High School staff member, was in court this week facing five charges of sexual contact with a student.

The charges are based on events which began being reported in 2017 and span several months.

Although Dahman’s name has circulated as the alleged perpetrator and the school district settled a civil case earlier this year which identified him, the arrest warrant issued June 23 was the first time his name was officially reported in connection to the crime.

The delay was reportedly caused by the time it took for the DNA samples to be processed by the Missouri State Highway Patrol lab.

Dahman turned himself into the police the day after the warrant was issued.

He was held on a $50,000 cash only bond until Monday, when the bond was changed to $50,000, 10 percent cash. He was subsequently released on bail.

In the probable cause statement, Det. Charles Sheppard of the Harrisonville Police Department outlined the alleged chain of events which led to the charges.

On Aug. 25, 2017, the HHS school resource officer was contacted about the allegations of inappropriate contact between a student and a teacher. At that time Dahman, whose father was superintendent of the school district, was a high school in-school suspension focus facilitator and for a time was also employed as a strength and conditioning coach.

During the initial investigation, Dahman admitted having received inappropriate pictures from a student, but denied sending anything and denied having any contact with the student outside of school.

On Aug. 30, 2017, another student contacted a counselor at HHS, sayin she had heard rumors about Dahman and a student and thought they were about her. She stated she had sex with him during the summer between school years. During a forensic center interview she talked about contacting Dahman to “hang out” and he had messaged her his fiancé was home and he would message her when she left.

The student then explained she entered Dahman’s parents’ home through a window and she drew a diagram of the bedroom. Once in the room, Dahman allegedly gave her “Molly” and he took some himself. Molly, also known as ecstasy, is a psychoactive drug. The victim said she knew it was Molly when she took it.

According to the probable cause statement, she said they had sex and said they then went to the woods, smoked weed and then returned to the home where they performed other sex acts.

She said it was not the first incident with him. The first, she said, was at the Twin Pines Country Club and there had been two other occasions, but she could not remember specific dates.

On Aug. 31, Harrisonville detectives and members of the Cass County Sherriff’s Office executed a search warrant at the residence and Sheppard noted the bedroom was much as the victim had described, except the bed had been replaced by a buffet.

On Nov. 16, Harrisonville Police received electronic data after a forensic laboratory examined Dahman’s phone. The examiner reported they allegedly observed texts from him referring to drugs a well as pictures of possible joints and lines of white powder with an AAA card with the name Joseph Dahman on it. Phone logs showed a number of calls between Dahman and the victim between March and July 2017.

On March 5, 2018, Sheppard said he was contacted by the second victim’s father who said he had found possible evidence, including clothes and other items, which could have had Dahman’s DNA on it.

On May 7 of this year, Sheppard received the lab results from the highway patrol that stated the DNA sample is consistent wit Joseph Dahman at an “approximate frequency of 1 in 1.60 sextillion.”

During Monday’s bond hearing, Dahman’s attorney, Veronica Dersch (Bowden) said her client is gainfully employed, works only with adults, has been in a relationship for more than two years with a woman over 20 and has strong ties to the community.

A special prosecutor, Erin Hunt, has been brought in from Jackson County to handle the case. She told the court she thought the $50,000 bond was appropriate, but had no objection to the 10 percent cash. She also noted the prosecution has discovery items which will be handed over to the defense.

The next appearance will be a case review Sept. 3 at 9 a.m. in front of Judge J. Michael Rumley.