Oxbow hosts forum on teacher sex crime arrest

— Oxbow Union High School officials are hosting a public forum tomorrow night to discuss the recent arrest of a gym teacher on a charge of sexually assaulting a former student.

The forum, which will begin at 7 p.m. tomorrow in the high school auditorium, will likely feature school officials, law enforcement, and a representative from the Vermont Department of Children and Families, Orange East Supervisory Union Human Resources Director Katrina Meigs said.

“We recognize that we are supporting our students and staff, but there are (also) people in the community who have been affected by this,” Meigs said. “The community wants to see and hear, and I think they need to be involved.”

The gathering comes a week after gym teacher and coach Brian H. Musty, 43, was arrested inside the school and charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting a former player between 1997 and 1998.

Investigators alleged that the incidents occurred both at Musty’s home, where the female student lived for a time, and inside the high school.

Musty, who is a physical education teacher and coach of Oxbow’s girls basketball, soccer and lacrosse teams, pleaded not guilty and was released on $20,000 bail.

Musty has been placed on paid leave from the school.

The school district, which has launched an internal investigation, has not uncovered any evidence suggesting that there are other alleged victims, Meigs said.

However, the lead law enforcement investigator in the case said that she uncovered troubling activity within the school’s walls.

“This investigation to date has revealed a scheme by Brian Musty whereby in his capacity as a high school teacher and sports coach in soccer, softball and basketball, he possessed the innate ability to gain the confidence of high school female athletes through conversations, providing study hall passes that allowed them to ‘hang out’ in his office and away from any monitoring, which provided for conversations in confidence with certain female students regarding private and/or troubling matters,” Jocelyn Stohl, a detective with the Orange County Special Investigations Unit, wrote in an affidavit.

But, because of employee confidentiality rules and the ongoing criminal investigation, school officials will be limited in discussing Musty and what they can say, Meigs said. The discussion will focus on the reaction to his arrest.

After Musty’s arrest, the school reached out to students and staff, Meigs said, including making counselors available. Tomorrow’s forum is designed to expand those outreach efforts.

“It’s just the right thing to do,” Meigs said. “This is the next step in making sure the community feels supported.”

The victim, now 30, has moved from the Upper Valley. When she was 15, she left her parents’ home with their permission and moved in with Musty and his wife.

She told authorities she engaged in more than 100 sex acts with Musty, beginning in 1997 when she was 15 and continuing until her freshman year of college, when she was 18 years old, police said. In Vermont, the age of consent is 16 years old, police said.

As a general practice, the Valley News does not identify victims of alleged sex crimes.

It was the second time the Bradford community has learned that a teacher had allegedly been engaging in sex crimes with a student.

Former Bradford Elementary School teacher Richard Foster was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2009 for producing child pornography involving two sixth-grade boys.

Mark Davis can be reached at mcdavis@vnews.com or 603-727-3304.