Dixon High's athletic director, who two months ago was , now faces an allegation that he made inappropriate sexual comments six months ago to a weightlifting class.
A parent is raising questions about the incident now because, she said, she's not convinced the school took the incident seriously. Meanwhile, because of the privacy surrounding personnel matters, school district officials say they can't reveal the outcome of their investigation into the allegations or whether any disciplinary action was taken against Athletic Director Tom Crumpacker.
Sherry Bedoya said she told high school Principal John Barsotti that her son revealed comments Crumpacker made to a weightlifting class in November inside the school’s small gymnasium.
Bedoya said she heard her son talking with a few of his friends at her house the weekend of Jan. 21.
“The kids were talking about it and I overheard them and I made them tell me what they were talking about,” she said.
That’s when the teenagers told Bedoya about a November 2011 incident, she said.
They told her that Crumpacker, the instructor of the school’s weightlifting class, brought the class – consisting of both girls and boys – into the school’s small gymnasium.
“In class, in the middle of weightlifting class, he would make a comment about his genital area and how big it was,” said Nico, Sherry Bedoya’s son, a 17-year-old junior.
“One day he just pulled us all into the small gym, and he was saying how ‘If we want to be dicks he will be a dick too,’ because he has a bigger dick than anyone,” said Nolan Williams, a 16-year-old Dixon High School sophomore who was also in the class. “I understand it would be funny (if it were said in front of just guys), but it was around a lot of girls and younger students. There were probably six or seven girls in there."
“Crumpacker was joking around and made a comment saying that there was no condom big enough for his dick,” said Darrien Vlahos, 17. “I think he was just playing around really. I wasn’t really listening to the conversation. Well, at first I didn’t really think of it, it was just a comment and then I kind of thought of it, it seemed really inappropriate with the girls.”
“I didn’t talk to the students about my penis, directly,” Crumpacker said just before Spring Break, but did not explain what he specifically said to the students. He said any further questions needed to be directed to Barsotti.
None of the boys interviewed for this story were offended by the comment, they said, and therefore didn’t make a big deal about it. Each of them plays football for Dixon High School and a certain amount of locker room talk comes with being a football player, they said.
Sherry Bedoya, however, saw it differently.
“The point is that he was doing it in front of females and males,” Bedoya said. “That’s inappropriate. For one thing, he is making it look like it’s OK for him to do stuff like that. He shouldn’t be talking about that with any student. I don’t want him teaching my kids that it’s OK to talk to kids like that.”
Bedoya reached out to Principal Barsotti on the following Monday, Jan. 24, after hearing about the incident from her son, she said.
Barsotti said he had heard rumors about the incident circulating through the school and decided to follow up on them by launching an investigation.
“I would agree that this is serious,” he said. “I did an investigation, not one student has come forth. I did have one family contact me, not the student directly.”
Barsotti declined to talk about the results of the investigation, saying the district has privacy policies in place.
Dixon Unified School District Interim Superintendent Brian Dolan acknowledged an investigation was conducted into the allegations but declined to say anything further.
“As this is a personnel matter, I have very limited ability to make any comments regarding the concerns raised about Mr. Crumpacker. I can, however, verify that his statement that Mr. Barsotti addressed this issue with him previously is accurate," Dolan stated in an e-mail. "A family brought the matter to the attention of the site administration and me in late January, at which time Mr. Barsotti investigated the concerns and followed up on them with Mr. Crumpacker. Neither the specific nature of the concerns nor the follow up steps that Mr. Barsotti took can be discussed as such matters are confidential under California labor law and our contract with our Teachers Association.”
Sherry Bedoya said Barsotti pulled her son into his office to talk about the allegations. Nico Bedoya was removed from the weightlifting class, Sherry Bedoya said, with an assurance the issue would be addressed. But Bedoya said she hasn’t heard from Barsotti since.
“I wanted the principal to do something about it and not just take Nico out and not do anything about,” Bedoya said.
Barsotti said he is concerned students are not following the school board procedure for reporting a complaint against a teacher or staff member. He said the students are bringing their complaints directly to the media, instead of to him or school staff.
The three students, however, said they told their parents about the incident and some of the parents spoke with Barsotti or staff about it.
“At first we just kind of walked it off, it was kind of awkward and weird,” Vlahos said. “I didn’t (talk to Barsotti). I’m not sure if anyone else did. I know that Nico’s mom went in and complained, and my mom went in and asked. My mom just went in and was concerned and asked about it.”
Vlahos said his mother approached DHS Assistant Principal Stephanie Marquez about the comments, and was asked to submit a written complaint, but never did so.
“My mom forgot to do it,” Vlahos said.
Sherry Bedoya said she did not write a formal complaint to the school on the basis of her conversation with Principal Barsotti, she said.
“I trusted that the guy would do what he said he would do, it was his word that he would take care of it,” she said.
According to DUSD policy the school’s administrator, Barsotti, must establish a mechanism for the public to file complaints against staff members. The policy states that the complainant should make attempts to resolve the compaint directly with the district employee. If the complaint is not resolved, the complainant must file a written complaint to the site administrator or the district superintendent.
Since no written complaint was filed – Bedoya made a telephone call to Barsotti, Vlahos’ mother was asked to write one, but never did – it leaves Principal Barsotti without a formal document to act upon as dictated in the policy.
The allegations against Crumpacker surfaced around the same time that Dixon High School’s sports program was the talk of the town following Barsotti’s decision to let go of former junior varsity football coach Troy Hensley, causing a community backlash.
At an early February board meeting, several individuals spoke in support of Hensley, bringing other issues related to sports program to light.
Hensley hired an attorney to explore a possible with claims the athletic director violated the school’s substance abuse testing policy.
Although the school board has vowed to revisit the policy and has put a call out to the community, both to make recommendations about the substance abuse policy as well as the policy for temporary coaches, Hensley is moving ahead with his complaint against Crumpacker and the district.
It was during this time, especially after the Feb. 2 board meeting when many students spoke in favor of Hensley’s re-instatement, that Crumpacker’s comments to the weightlifting class surfaced. Nico Bedoya and Nolan Williams were at the meeting and were in favor of Hensley’s re-instatement.
When asked if the firing of Coach Hensley had something to do with her complaint, Sherry Bedoya said: “That doesn’t have anything to do with what we are talking about right now. This guy is being inappropriate. He’s a role model for our kids. He (Barsotti) needs to do something about it.”
Board members Gil Pinon, Joe DiPaola and board president Irina Okhremtchouk said they were not aware of accusations against Crumpacker and could not provide an official comment. They also said the accusations are serious and would require action if merited.
Sherry Bedoya said she is considering putting her complaint in writing to the school if she does not find out the outcome of the investigation into the allegations.