Elementary teacher accused of molestation

Wednesday, October 22nd 2008, 11:18 pm
By: News 9

By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

BYNG, Okla. -- A teacher from Byng, Oklahoma was arrested after being accused of allegedly molesting a student. Police arrested Jeffery Dallen Tuesday after interviewing him on a complaint from a parent.

This is Dallen's fourth year teaching music at Homer Elementary, but he's spent time teaching kids in other districts for at least 15 years. He also spent time as a youth minister, which is why the accusations are all the more disturbing.

Over 650 kids call Homer Elementary their school, and for the close-knit community, seeing a headline like this is unbelievable.

"I think it just sent a shockwave in the community, because it is a small community and people know each other very well," Ada resident Kathy Gardenheire said.

The same confusion rippled through the Byng School District, whose staff can't believe what Dallen is accused of.

"It's been a long tough day a lot of tears a lot of anguish," Byng Schools Superintendent Todd Crabtree said.

The court record states that a student "told her cousin that her music teacher had been touching her," accusing Dallen of "putting his hands down her pants" while the "class was watching a movie."

The allegations are enough to shake a district to its core, but the record goes on to say Dallen confessed during an Ada police interview. The record says he told investigators the molestation "started last November before Thanksgiving break" and he last molested the 9-year-old "this October."

"We have two great counselors on staff who have been working very hard all day, and have a lot of work in the coming days," Crabtree said.

Complicating matters, Dallen is married to one of the school's principals, Vicki Dallen, who we're told is just as shocked at the arrest. Court records indicate her husband also told police there are "two other female victims" he molested at Homer Elementary.

For investigators the case is a tough reminder that parents need to have serious talks with their kids.

"Let them know it's okay to speak up, or say something if they feel like something is not right," Ada police spokesman Mark Bratcher said.

All Byng school district employees go through background checks. Police said Dallen does not have a criminal record.

District officials are in the process of looking at disciplinary action, and authorities are continuing their investigation.