Former Reynolds substitute teacher facing sex abuse charges, district facing $6.2M lawsuit

Dale Buckendahl booking photo (Multnomah Co. Jail)

A former Portland-area teacher is locked up after being charged with molesting one of his students nearly ten years ago.

With his back turned to the camera, 53-year-old Dale Buckendahl made his first court appearance Thursday morning, indicted on two counts of first-degree sex abuse.

The alleged abuse happened at Alder Elementary School in 2008 when the victim was 8 or 9 years old. While the former teacher is facing criminal charges, the victim is also now suing the Reynolds School District for $6.2 million for failing to protect her.

According to a lawsuit filed against the Reynolds School District by the alleged victim, who is now over 18, Buckendahl was her third-grade substitute teacher.

The suit claims Buckendahl was grooming five girls at the school by hugging them and rubbing their shoulders. It goes on to claim he abused the alleged victim, referred to as YM, by reaching under her skirt or shorts under the table and touching her vagina.

Reynolds School District officials told FOX 12 they can’t comment on pending litigation, but they did confirm Buckendahl worked for the district as a substitute between 2003 and 2011.

2001 is the same year the Portland Police Bureau first investigated the allegations against Buckendahl, though he was not arrested until Wednesday.

Beaverton School District leaders confirmed to FOX 12 that Buckendahl taught in the district from 1998 to 2003.

In 2002, a report filed with the Teachers Standards and Practices Commission stated Buckendahl was given an official letter of reprimand in Beaverton for trying to access sexually explicit information on a school computer and having inappropriate contact with students, giving them gifts, notes and touching them inappropriately.

Officials suspended Buckendahl’s teaching license for a month, but he then kept teaching for nine more years.

Buckendahl entered a plea of not guilty Thursday. He is expected back in court early next year.

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