A judge this week dismissed the bulk of a defamation lawsuit filed by Denver school board member Tay Anderson against Black Lives Matter 5280, its leadership and a parent, ruling their unsubstantiated claims of sexual assault against Anderson were protected speech and Anderson would not be able to prove they made the claims with actual malice.
However, Denver District Court Judge David H. Goldberg allowed the defamation claim against a 19-year-old activist who made similar allegations on her Facebook page to proceed, according to a written order filed Wednesday.
In March 2021, Black Lives Matter 5280 posted a statement on its social media accounts saying a woman had come to them with allegations that she was sexually assaulted by Anderson. The claim led Anderson’s fellow Denver Public Schools board members to hire ILG, an independent firm, to investigate the allegations.
During that investigation, Denver parent Mary-Katherine Brooks Fleming testified before a state Senate committee that a predator was targeting Denver Public Schools students, and although she didn’t name Anderson in her testimony, the school board later confirmed she was speaking about him.
In September, ILG determined that the sexual assault allegations made by BLM5280 and Brooks Fleming were unsubstantiated. However, the investigators discovered Anderson had flirted online with a 16-year-old student and penned “coercive” social media posts. The Denver Public Schools’ Board of Education deemed that behavior “unbecoming of a board member,” and the board censured Anderson.