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Evidence Emerges; Tay Anderson Controversy


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This article was coauthored by Shavonne Blades and Mona Cedillo

This article includes an interview with Tay Anderson and his attorney

This article will continue to be updated as new information is made available.  Updated on 6/30/2020 9:30 am to reflect a change in Apryl Alexander’s title at BLM5280 and to answer questions regarding Victim Number One’s statement retraction/recant. Updated on 6/30/2021 at 1:05 pm to reflect our calls to The Blue Bench as well as the purpose of our second call with the alleged victim following the retraction call. Updated on 7/01/2021 at 4:00 pm to include the full statement of Blue Bench Executive Director Megan Carvajal. Updated on 7/02/2021 to reflect Joseph A Camp’s call to our office. Updated to include Jeff Fard Show 7/2/2021 speaking to Tay Anderson “In His Own Words”. 7/3/2021 Updated to reflect interview with the Tay Anderson is included 10/2021 Updated to include the independent investigation, ILG Services, Report

Content Warning: The following reading includes discussions around topics such as sexual assault, stalking, sexual misconduct, covert manipulation, emotional abuse, extreme racism, misogyny, cyberbullying, social injustice, discrimination, and harassment. YS acknowledges this content may be difficult and encourages readers to care for their safety and well-being.

Those who may be triggered and may need someone to talk to can reach out to the following organizations:
National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-SAFE
Violence Free Colorado – 1-888-778-7091
Family Tree Hotline – 303-420-6752
Safehouse Denver Hotline – 303-318-9989
Stronghearts Native Hotline – 1-844-7NATIVE
Latina Safehouse Hotline – 303-433-4470


 

On March 26, 2021, Black Lives Matter 5280 released a statement on their social media page and website alleging Denver Public School Board Director Tay Anderson sexually assaulted a woman in 2017. The statement claimed the anonymous victim turned to BLM5280 in February 2021 for assistance with approaching Mr. Anderson to “issue a public apology and seek help from a licensed professional with relevant expertise.”

In April 2021, BLM5280 reached out to Yellow Scene Magazine to request publication of the victim’s statement. In May 2021, the month following the release of the BLM5280 statement, Community Volunteer Dr. Apryl Alexander stepped down from her position with no public statement or explanation. YS reached out to the former Director to request an interview. Dr. Alexander responded on June 14, 2021, stating “I’m currently out of town until Wednesday and will be unable to call back until then. Also, I stepped away from BLM5280 in early May and there’s not much I can contribute.”

(cont.)

YS responded to BLM5280 stating we could not publish an anonymous statement without first speaking to the victim, who we agreed would remain anonymous, and attempting to speak to the accused.

On April 14, YS staff conducted the interview with the anonymous alleged victim who only spoke to confirm their identity at the beginning of the interview. The victim preferred to not identify the high school they attended out of fear of being identified and retaliation. The remainder of the interview was conducted through an intermediary, Mary Katherine Brooks-Fleming, who represented herself as the victim’s advocate, while the victim was on mute and did not speak directly to our reporters. Instead, Brooks-Fleming heard the victim’s answers first, then provided the answers to YS staff.

In the YS transcription from the alleged victim’s recorded interview, Brooks-Fleming begins the interview with the following statement:

“Luckily, for ‘victim number one’, as we like to call her because she was the first one to come forward, happens to be very close with the family. So the kids, whenever she comes over, it’s like Christmas. And so yeah, no one’s going to sleep in (unintelligible) cuz they went to bed with too much sugar. I think I got four (kids) plus 83 protest kids who come and go as they please, and two who call me mom and show up for her since Saturday. And I did hear a little more frequently from her than the others. So I’ve just gotten to the point, I tell people, I have six kids in our evolving door.”

Brooks-Fleming continued:

“Very nice to meet you. And thank you for your interest in taking this on. It has been a little…I have been quite surprised. I think quite surprised by the push back on this because this guy has been so problematic for so long. And there have been so many conversations with them. And each time people are like, ‘Oh, no, I talked to him. He’s not, he’s not gonna do that, again, he’s gonna do better.’ And these are the same people who are covering for him now, which is why I don’t know, we were just grateful that y’all are taking this seriously. And that you’re willing to print the statement. And she understands that the reason we’re doing this is because you have to have a few things disclosed. She is, by the way, she is a black woman. Obviously, you’re a black woman and you can understand her fear of retribution because he is… he’s known that… especially with the attorney who he’s hired, thank you for doing the background on that, I friended you after I saw that, like, oh, someone did his homework. I was like, I want to know that guy. Because I don’t know why more people aren’t up in arms about that. Like this guy systematically destroys women. If you are Brock Turner’s parents, this is who you hire. And it’s like no one in Denver knows that. But I guess it’s one of those things white people know.”

Brock Turner, a former Stanford University swimming athlete, was convicted in 2016 for the sexual assault of an unconscious female behind a dumpster in 2015. Turner’s jail time was 6 months, yet he served only 3 months. Brock Turner’s family did not retain Christopher Decker.

As the interview proceeded, Brooks-Fleming shared the following statement with YS which she attributed to the alleged victim, who continued to remain on mute:

“It was senior year of high school, 2017. We were colleagues, we worked together at one of my, one of our after school jobs. We did not socialize at all, outside of that job because we went to different schools. We’ve shared similar backgrounds, we were both homeless at the time. We shared similar ideals around oppression and black liberation that were… kind of set us apart in our respective environments. And that formed a bond between us, but not one that could be construed as friendship, let alone romantic. We were two people with a lot in common who happened to work at the same place. Then one night in May, at the end of our shift, we were taking out the trash together. May 2017, we were taking out the trash together as was a company protocol, or happened at the end of each night.  He took me by surprise, assaulting and raping me behind the trash can. This was in a covered parking garage, but still a public area. And I didn’t want to draw attention. I just wanted it to end. I got my things, and I got home as quickly as possible. And I didn’t speak about it again.”

To date, Mary Katherine Brooks-Fleming has been the singular voice on record (i.e., willing to identify herself) reporting allegations of sexual assault made by third parties against Tay Anderson. No other witnesses or victims, documented or undocumented, have come forth at press time to corroborate the Brooks-Fleming statements from the initial interview with Victim Number One or Ms. Brooks-Fleming’s testimony, in late May at the State Capitol. Additionally, there are no open Denver Police Department investigations at this time. As a result, a spectrum of community members from the greater Front Range have begun to question her role in the allegations.

(cont.)

Brooks-Fleming, also known as MK, first became known in the Denver activist arena during the George Floyd protests of 2020. She works as a fitness coach and author, and in her past life she worked on Wall Street and for other corporate entities. A background check confirmed Brooks-Fleming has been permanently banned from Sam.gov under the alias Ann Marie Brooks. The System for Award Management, or SAM, is a government-wide portal that consolidates the capabilities of multiple systems and information sources used by the federal government in conducting the acquisition and financial assistance (which includes grants and cooperative agreements) processes.

(cont.)

Her husband, Alexander Fleming, works at Deloitte, a professional services firm that provides financial advisory, risk advisory, tax, and legal services to companies, including oil and gas, around the world. 

YS reached out to Brooks-Fleming to inquire about Sam.gov. To date, she has not responded.

(cont.)

Ms. Brooks-Fleming, helped co-found Denver Wall of Moms, along with Tiffani Bearup and Te Eiko. Eiko stated to YS, “Wall of Moms was founded with the goal to use their white privilege to protect Black Bodies”. Known to tag herself as “Protest Mom” on social media, she has created and posted several videos speaking to young protestors to advise them on the suggested practices for protesting, some of them more unorthodox than often advised by many who are seasoned protestors. In one post in particular, Brooks-Fleming shows a whiteboard and claims “Every night I write the names of protestors I know are out, plus their date of birth and emergency contact.”

Wall of Moms, formed in May 2020 during the George Floyd protests, originated as a group of non-binary women in Portland, Oregon. The movement branched out to cities including Chicago, Seattle, Tampa, and Denver. The women were known to link arms to form a protective wall between protesters and authorities. NPR article on Wall of Moms.

(cont.)

 

Brooks-Fleming is perhaps best known for her recent testimony which was presented at the Colorado House Discussion on #SB73 Ending Statute of Limitations on Sexual Assault Accusations on May 25, 2021. In her testimony before the state House Judiciary Committee, Brooks-Fleming claimed, “there is a sexual predator targeting DPS children.” She alleged that 62 students had approached her for help regarding a single individual within the Denver Public Schools system. Brooks-Fleming did not identify the accused during her testimony. Her allegations included victims sharing their experiences from the “alleged predator” that had ranged from “unwanted touching to violent acts of rape.” She also alleged one of the victims needed stitches and the youngest was 14 years old. Of the 62 alleged victims, Brooks-Fleming claimed 61 of them lacked citizenship documentation or were recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. 

(cont.)

 

According to the Colorado Herald, a notably ultra-conservative online publication, in an article written by Darcy Schoening, Brooks-Fleming alleged these acts to have occurred beginning June 2020 to September 2020. During this time frame, DPS students were on a schedule for remote learning due to health precautions with the COVID-19 pandemic.

(cont.)

 

As to Brooks-Fleming’s claim that Anderson intentionally targeted DACA recipients or undocumented immigrant students, YS verified that DPS does not keep records as to the immigration status of their students.

In her testimony at the Capitol, Brooks-Fleming also stated that one of the alleged victims needed stitches, and that individual was a minor. A Facebook post Brooks-Fleming made preceding her testimony, confirms that she sought to have the procedure done for the victim, “outside the hospital system.”

(cont.)

Brooks-Fleming Facebook post requesting for a medical procedure “outside the hospital system.”

 

Although during Brooks-Fleming’s testimony, she did not identify Tay Anderson as the alleged predator, her social media posts shortly after she testified began to focus on Anderson as an alleged predator. Thereafter, Brooks-Fleming connected with DPS graduate Gigi Gordon, who started a petition against Anderson based on Brooks-Fleming’s allegations that he had assaulted 62 students. Following the posting of the petition, Gordon held a rally on June 10 to demand justice for DPS students.

(L) Gigi Gordon. PC: Mona Cedillo; (R) Gordon’s petition against Anderson on Change.org

Gordon and Brooks-Fleming received support from Colorado local media figure Jimmy Sengenberger, who posted Gordon’s efforts on the Facebook Denver Republican Page and on his YouTube show. Sengenberger has long used his platform to push ultra-conservative views, often against Anderson. Darcy Schoening, publisher for the Colorado Herald, is known as an extreme-conservative public figure, and uses her platform to promote Sengenberg and Brooks-Fleming’s allegations as well.

(cont.)

 

Another supporter of Brooks-Fleming is Samantha Koch, who refers to herself as “Outspoken Samantha” and voices opposition to Divesting the Police, Black Lives Matter and Critical Race TheoryPriscilla Rahn Shaw (Republican candidate who unsuccessfully ran for University of Colorado Board of Regents District 6) also supports Brooks-Fleming. Shaw, too, has posted her views opposing Black Lives Matter and Critical Race Theory on social media.

(cont.)

Recent letter written by Rahn Shaw and Brooks-Fleming, posted on Facebook on June 3, 2021.

Sengenberger “SPECIAL REPORT: Denver School Board Member Assault Allegations | Episode 147 w/ Shaw & Schoening” YouTube Livestream on Jun 3, 2021. (L-R) Schoening, Rahn Shaw, Anderson, Sengenberger.

The rally hosted by Gordon was coordinated with the intention to publicly request the removal of Tay Anderson’s name from recent graduates’ diplomas Of the 8 students who attended the June 10 rally, none were the alleged victims of Anderson. Community activist, Mona Cedillo, who was invited to the rally by Desiree Gonzales, asked if any of the students present claimed to have been classmates, family or friends of any of the alleged victims. No students confirmed they personally knew the alleged victims. 

(cont.)

(L) Gonzalez shares the same flyer, also used by Joseph A. Camp, on one of her three Facebook profiles; (R) Gonzales responds to Cedillo’s questions, claiming she cannot release information due to an investigation with the Denver Police Department.

Mona Cedillo is a 16 year resident of Colorado. Born and raised in Southern California, Cedillo moved to CO in 2005. She is the Founder and Director of End Violence Against Women Media, an organization that provides social media awareness on various forms of violence against women. Known as a survivor and advocate, she is also an event promoter, community activist and published writer. Often she is seen using her platform to bring attention to issues of social injustice, especially to Brown and Black communities. Cedillo is also a co-author on this story.  

A main promoter for the June 10 action against Tay Anderson was “Desiree Gonzales”, who is known to have at least two more social media profiles with the names of “Gonzales Robin” and “Rebel Tapp.” Gonzales had reached out to Cedillo through two different Facebook profiles. Her messages assured Cedillo the rally would provide answers and people would hear from some of the alleged victims. Gonzales also told Cedillo that no organizations or advocacy groups, including the Brown Berets, were willing to help the alleged victims. 

(cont.)

Messages sent from Gonzales to Cedillo on Facebook Messenger.

As of Saturday, June 26, 2021 the following organizations confirmed with Ms. Cedillo that they were not contacted by any of the alleged victims or Brooks-Fleming: Colorado Latino Forum, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, and The Initiative. Although CO Latino Forum and CIRC were willing to provide documentation, the Executive Director for The Initiative, Ashlee Lewis, declined the request.

(cont.)

Claims by Gonzales that the Brown Berets refused to help the alleged victims were refuted by two main chapters of Brown Berets from CO. Both chapters have confirmed they were never approached by Brooks-Fleming or any of the alleged undocumented victims. 

(cont.)

While Brooks-Fleming has been the leading voice to come forth publicly with accusations, another outspoken detractor of Tay Anderson is Joseph A. Camp, recently called “Denver’s Super Troll” by Westword Denver. Camp is well-known for his racist Facebook posts as well as repeatedly sending unwanted messages to people whose views he opposes. He is currently targeting the campaign manager of Anderson, including her 13-year-old daughter, with unwanted phone calls, text, and doxxing her on social media.

(cont.)

 

In June 2021, an article published in Westword magazine titled “Is Colorado Super Troll Trying to Stir Up The Tay Anderson Mess” stated:

““In June 2013, following the U.S. Department of Justice’s announcement that Camp, a former student at the University of Central Missouri, had been sentenced to three years in federal prison without parole and asked to pay $61,500 in restitution for “his role in a computer hacking conspiracy.” Specifically, he and a named co-conspirator are said to have “gained unlawful and unauthorized access to the UCM computer network, which allowed them to view and download large databases of faculty, staff, alumni and student information. They were also able to transfer money to their student accounts and attempted to change grades.’

After serving a stretch in the Colorado Department of Corrections system, Camp stuck around the state, and in recent years, his actions have rated a number of headlines. In October 2019, for example, The Colorado 303!Life asserted that Denver’s Festival of Color had been ‘hacked by notorious cyberstalker Joseph Camp.’ Just shy of a year later, in September 2020, Denverite reported on the arrest of two men who were cited for carrying large-capacity gun magazines during a peaceful protest around the death of Breonna Taylor. In the piece, Camp, dubbed ‘a self-described documentarian, talent manager, ‘political satirical artist’ and presidential candidate,’ is quoted as saying he’d hired the men to work as security. He also said that he’d provided footage from events like the Taylor rally to ‘right-leaning ‘influencers’ and teased that he was slated to speak ‘with the right-wing blog The Blaze about the incident.”

(cont.)

UPDATE: Joseph A Camp requested a call from the YS office on 7/01/2021. YS returned that call on 7/2/2021 at approx. 10:00 am. YS agreed to include Joseph A Camp’s comment that he requested we include as his response.

“I categorically deny reaching out to anybody via text message, email or Facebook or whatever, beyond a request for comment. And I have never posted a single instance of racism despite the accusation that I am well known for posting on Facebook.”

UPDATE: As discussed on Jeff Fard’s show on 7/2/2021 Joseph Camp stated to Jeff Fard that Camp is only amplifying the voices of others.

Brooks-Fleming’s LinkedIn profile claims she serves on the board for Blue Bench, an organization focusing on sexual assault prevention and care. Currently, Blue Bench does not have Brooks-Fleming listed on their website. Calls and emails to Blue Bench to confirm Brooks-Fleming’s position on its board have not been returned.  Such a position would place Brooks-Fleming as a Mandatory Reporter, obligating her to report any case of sexual abuse or assault to authorities. She has denied her position as a Mandatory Reporter on a Facebook post. 

(cont.)

Brooks-Fleming post on Facebook denying her role as a Mandatory Reporter.

The role of a Mandatory Reporter is to be taken seriously, as it is often a trusted position within the community. In Colorado, a person who has regular contact with vulnerable people is legally required to file a report when abuse is observed or suspected. Brooks-Fleming answered in a Facebook Post that she has not filed such a report for “Victim Number One” or any of the alleged 62 victims she cited at the Capitol hearing, because she considers herself not a mandatory reporter.

(cont.)

 

When publicly confronted by a community member about why she had not come forward sooner, Brooks-Fleming stated “I’ve worked on this for a damn year. I have worked with everyone.”

(cont.)

During the same year Brooks-Fleming claims to have been aware of the allegations, she posted on Twitter praise for  Anderson, calling him a “brave and worthy role model in this broken time”.

(cont.)

Brooks-Fleming Twitter post praising Anderson. The tweet has since been deleted.

Within the same year, Brooks-Fleming reached out to Anderson for an event to be attended by DPS students. On Nov. 1, 2020, she invited Anderson to speak at an event to “Remind everyone of the homeless kids in DPS”. The event was for a Denver City Council meeting where she confirmed the location was to be “Outside the City and County Building”. Again, Brooks-Fleming has not responded to YS’ invitation for her to explain this apparently contradictory move.

(cont.)

It is critical to note, while YS conducted the initial interview with the alleged victim in April of 2021, almost two months later there have been changes with the alleged incident and the alleged victim’s statement.

On June 13, 2021 while conducting a follow-up call with the alleged “Victim Number One,” YS was informed they were retracting and not moving forward with their statements.

UPDATE: On June 13, 2021 while conducting a follow-up call with the alleged “Victim Number One,” YS was informed they were retracting and not moving forward with their statements. When asked if they were retracting they stated yes, but they also stated they no longer want to move forward pursuing that allegation “for safety and support reasons.”  They say they no longer have the support systems they did in the beginning, they are disassociating themselves from Brooks-Fleming, and feel threatened if they were to go forward with their story. We received a call from the victim’s attorney following publication and advise that she will be the best source for further details on Victim Number One.

On June 25, 2021 another call was made by YS to the accuser – to confirm that they were firm in recanting the prior accusation of sexual assault and if they would be making public their previous statement with YS. When asked, the accuser hesitated and stated; “I would love to give you my lawyer’s number”. When YS requested the contact information for the attorney, they told YS they would take our number instead. A best contact number was provided and a request was made to be contacted by this weekend. They stated they would “pass that along”. YS received a call from the alleged victim’s attorney at press time but was not given permission to reprint her statements. 

YS sent a LinkedIn message to Brooks-Fleming seeking an interview and no response has yet to be received. Within one hour of sending that request, YS was blocked from her LinkedIn page.

(cont.)

YS attempted unsuccessfully to contact Brooks-Fleming for an interview.

YS has reached out to OutFront, a publication which Madison Rose is listed as an author. Efforts were made to confirm if she would speak about her time at Never Again. She has declined the interview. 

Never Again was a youth-led anti-gun violence group of which Anderson, then 19, was president in 2018. The group is now defunct. The Never Again board was made up of diverse students and Madison Rose, who was 24 at the time, served as a board member. Per Tay Anderson and his attorney, Christopher Decker, the accusations regarding Anderson’s behavior at Never Again mainly focused on financial propriety and inappropriate comments. Tay has publicly apologized for these comments and agreed they should not be made.

YS reached out to BLM5280 and asked if they would be publicly reporting that “Victim Number One” retracted. BLM5280 has not responded.

YS also reached out to Blue Bench for verification of Brooks-Fleming’s position on the Board as she is not listed on the board’s website. YS has inquired when the role ended. No response has been received as of press time.

UPDATE: YS called The Blue Bench on June 12th, 2021 at 5:05 pm and left a voice mail to please return the call regarding Mary Katherine Brooks-Fleming serving on the Board for The Blue Bench. On June 22nd we called again at 1:46 pm and spoke to a receptionist speaking for 1 minute and 7 seconds. We inquired when Brooks-Fleming left the Board of The Blue Bench and were told she did not have that information.  The call dropped so we called back at 1:48 pm and spoke for 1 minute and 25 seconds and asked for Executive Director, Megan Carvajal email but was told they could not give that out. We then left our number and asked for Carvajal to return the call. We were told the staff was mostly working off-site but the message would be passed along. 

Statement from Megan Carvajal, Executive Director of The Blue Bench, in response to YellowScene Magazine’s article titled “Evidence Emerges; Tay Anderson Controversy.”
(Click “Show More” below for the full statement.)

Call log to The Blue Bench listed number.

On June 23, 2021 YS conducted an interview with Tay Anderson with his attorney, Christopher Decker, present. During the interview it was revealed they had become aware of the alleged victim’s name. As a result, much of the conversation focused around those allegations. 

Christopher Decker stated multiple times that he and his client are fully cooperating with the DPS investigation. 

Tay Anderson denied ever knowing the accuser prior to August 2020, and confirmed he was unemployed in all of 2017.

Mr. Decker states:

“This is why I want to get the details right because it is in fact true that Tay was unemployed in May of 2017. And to the extent we can, we will get you a calendar of his events during that month. He did not work at (redacted) on 16th. He did work at (redacted) in 2016 on the 16th Street Mall. He did not work with a woman by the name of (redacted). In 2017, he went to the, probably in the spring of 2017, he did go to (redacted) one time with an HBO film crew, and his staff assistant, Tiffany Caudill, and they bought doughnuts at the (redacted) and then gave them to the homeless.”

Decker informed YS that the accuser may have reasons to dislike Tay, one of which was the fact that the accuser worked for his opponent, Jennifer Bacon, in 2017. 

Anderson states:

“I ran for school board in 2017. Jennifer Bacon has told several different people, you know, she (the accuser) highly expressed her disliking or hatred of me, because I would tell people that I was homeless. And, you know, I was living with a family in the Whittier area and living with a family and during the time that she was living in a shelter. And that, you know, allegedly, there were inappropriate, and, you know, sexual misconduct things that happened to her at this shelter. And since then, she was really upset with, you know, the way that the way that I campaign often being the “homeless” candidate, you know, team running for school board, etc. And so that’s where this might come from, this is just hearsay.” 

Decker interjects:

“The slimmed down version of that and a lot of people say this about Tay, that he coops the bandwidth, or sort of steals the fire. And so the angst, as we understand it comes from the fact that he sort of ran as a homeless person and he was perhaps not as homeless as she was and she was victimized as a homeless person, and maybe had a more, a harder reality of homelessness than Tay did. And that that’s, you know, that was something that angered her personally.”

When asked about his relationship with Brooks-Fleming, Anderson replied:

“she came up after the first kind of organized revolts in Portland, Oregon, you know, that Wall of Mom grew out of there, then Denver Wall of Moms started to form on the frontlines here and several protests, but before then, I didn’t know who she was. And, you know, MK and her crew provided security assistance to me and other black organizers, like (redacted), but we never crossed paths. But they provided security for, you know, several black organizers during that summer, because we were under attack from an individual named Joey Camp.”

YS asked if Anderson was ever alone or romantically involved with the alleged victim. He states:

“The first time I met her (the alleged victim) was August 6th, 2020. I remember it vividly, because her group messaged me on Twitter to come to their rally and speak to help promote their event for the eviction moratorium. That was the first time we had ever even met. I didn’t even respond to the Twitter invitation that they sent me. I just showed up to the event. And then an individual named Echo at the time introduced me to (redacted), they even introduced me to her via this message. This was the first time I met her, and from there we never really had crossed paths. In August of 2020 she asked me to come and share a statement. 

YS asked Anderson again, in a follow up email, about his interaction with the victim. He responded by confirming he had never had relations with the accuser. He provided documentation confirming the only interaction he had with them was in August 2020:

Thank you for your email. I can confirm that I have never had a relationship with (redacted). I was first made aware about (redacted)’ activism through a Twitter DM from her organization asking me to speak at an event in August of 2020. 

I am attaching screenshots to show the following: No direct communication between (redacted) and I on any social media (I don’t have her number or I’d provide text messages) and the Twitter DM of her (alleged victim) org asking me to speak in August. 

YS asked Anderson about his relationship with BLM5280. He replied:

“I didn’t go tit for tat with 5280. It was more of an individual community political fragmentation that Hashim Coates had back and forth with them the day before, their initial allegation was posted for that Thursday, March 25, of 2021. But BLM (and) I have never had a good relationship. And I think Chris mentioned this earlier, because, you know, they feel as if my organizing has taken credit or taken the work they’re organizing was predominantly led by black women. And so in two instances, I made a mistake. There was an instance where I made a tweet about Stapelton changing their name and we are coming for them. They got upset with that because Stapelton 24 hours later was changing their name. And so they got upset me from taking the work from black women, then they you know, didn’t really want to work together. I acknowledged that it was their work. And since then I’ve done so in other spaces. And then finally, when Helen Rigmaiden had her Windsor Garden sign, BLM5280 asked to be removed by security she called BLM5280 for them to support her, she didn’t get a response back to this call so she called myself and Brother Jeff in to do a community parade to pass out signs. And after that, that was where the very public criticisms of BLM members came from, like being under Tay Anderson takes the work of black women. And they labeled me like an emotional abuser on Twitter, because of these two events. And when I offered the chance to have a restorative conversation, they never got back to me about that. I did reach out to them to say, I would love to, you know, rectify any harm that I may have caused. And I don’t want to ever be the reason why we have rift in our community and I never heard back.”

On June 23rd, 2021 YS spoke with Tiffany Caudill, Tay Anderson’s previous campaign manager in 2017 during his first bid for the DPS Board. Caudill was witness to Anderson’s activities and schedule during the alleged timeframe for “Victim Number One.” She opened up the interview by expressing her belief in Anderson. YS asked Caudill: “What is it about your relationship that has led you to believe him?” (The following quotes have been edited for length and clarity.)

Caudill replied:

“I think that it’s a couple of different things. So, I met Tay in February of 2017…People were just wowed by this young activist. His ability to you know, pull a crowd and have them be completely, you know, enchanted by the things he was saying…In March of that year, he, you know, had made a post about being homeless... We ended up having a family take him in which enabled him to finish out his high school career his senior year. And, then ultimately, he talked to me about deciding to run for school board. And initially, I was brought on as, like, a speech editor, and to help with speech writing and things like that. And when he first announced his run, a lot of people were really interested in helping, but pretty soon after, I became his campaign manager... And ultimately, he’s become more a part of our family…And at one point, he kind of said, You know, I really need like a guidance and, like a parental figure… And, you know, I’ve, I’ve tried to be in that role as much as possible, whether he’s right or wrong, try and guide him and give him advice, and show him what it means to have a family and have that kind of unconditional love.

[…] I believe I know who he is, and in his heart, and the time spent with him it would be impossible, if I were to say, “Oh, yeah, I could see that happening.” I mean, we wouldn’t have the relationship that we have any part of me that believed, it’s impossible… at the time, we were just facing using these anonymous BLM52890 accusations…the things I was entertaining in my head, you know, were normal things like, was there a situation with a girlfriend that maybe he didn’t understand what it was? […] And we talked about really uncomfortable things that I don’t think either one of us wanted to discuss with each other. But, you know, ultimately, my belief was that he wasn’t capable of doing…something malicious and violent and intentional. […] if he did something that did cause harm, it was my job to hold him accountable for that, and to, you know, help him change that behavior. But as time has continued, nothing has changed on our end…we don’t have any more information than we did in the beginning.”

YS asked how much time Caudill and Anderson spent together in May 2017. 

Caudill replied:

“I would say that certainly wasn’t every breathing hour. He was still in school at the time. But our contact with each other did increase quite a bit because he had just really launched his campaign... So there were, you know, meetings after school, arranging meetings with other people. We spent a lot of evenings and weekends together…

When asked if she could verify if Anderson was employed at the alleged timeframe, Caudill answered with:

“To my knowledge, he was absolutely not at that time We had to provide transportation for him, we had to help pay for rides, to and from events and doing some campaign things…”

Caudill stated she was willing to provide the calendar notes documenting Anderson’s schedule during from the alleged timeframe for verification. 

YS asked Caudill about Never Again. She shared her knowledge of the story:

[…] The very first accusations were financial mishandling. And he, as president of Never Again, mishandled sexual harassment allegations against two other completely separate board members... Those were the accusations against Tay in 2018 and in 2019. They only changed and are different in 2021 after the BLM5280 accusations came out. Most of the people on the board of Never Again were 18-19… where these supposedly inappropriate comments took place was at her apartment where she hosted parties and provided drugs and alcohol to the other board members. She was also engaged in a sexual relationship with other board members, one of whom was under the age of 18. And that might be why she’s no longer willing to be interviewed. Whereas at the beginning, she was more than happy to provide interviews to the Denver Post and Westword, and whoever else reached out to her.

That is what I mean, did Tay act inappropriately while on the Never Again board, yes, but they all did. Regardless of that, going back to what I said before, about talking to Tay about his behavior and being accountable when we had that conversation when Never Again came out with the new allegations, you know, our conversation was, ‘is it possible that something you said made somebody else feel uncomfortable?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’ And I was like, ‘then what? What do you think you should do?’ And he was like, ‘I need to be accountable for that.’ And when I talk about these conversations that I’m having with Tay, these are not bullshit conversations, it’s not easy stuff. If you did something that made somebody uncomfortable, intentional or not, you need to apologize for it. And he’s never pushed back on any of that. I’ve watched him sit down and write down people that you’ve had relationships with and think in his head if there’s anything, at one point I were wanting to reach out to any woman he had ever had a sexual encounter with, and talk to them and ask them and apologize if he had done anything because in his mind he couldn’t think of anything. But he understood that there was, you know, maybe, maybe something happened. And I think went on and we found out that this was wildly different than what we were trying to envision could have happened.”

Caudill closed her interview with:

“You know, I am a survivor. So this is something that I obviously do not take lightly. It’s something that’s incredibly painful for anybody with a past to sort of realize in any kind of way. So I think the part for me that was difficult, is being called a rape apologist, or being called a sexual predator enabler or being accused of electing a child rapist, those types of things that, for me, are hard to get. If somebody were to make a criticism of any of us for knowingly, anything even remotely, I would deserve all of that hate. But that’s not the situation. Those of us who are supporting Tay are supporting Tay with the belief that he isn’t capable of this, and that black men have experienced these types of accusations.”

 

Independent investigation report conducted by ILG Services. The 96-page report found all allegations to be unsubstantiated.

 

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