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Academy seeking to aid students after sex charges against staffer

SAN MARCOS, Texas (BP)–Brad Bartlett-Dixon, a dormitory director at San Marcos Baptist Academy, has been charged with sexual crimes against minors. Authorities believe he may have victimized six boys who attend the academy’s middle school.

Bartlett-Dixon, 34, has been a staff member at the academy since August 1997. He first was named assistant director of the middle school boys’ dormitory, which houses 62 boys in grades six through eight. He was promoted to dormitory director last May.

Students reported the alleged sexual misconduct to academy administrators Saturday, Jan. 15.

The administrators immediately contacted the Hays County Sheriff’s Department and notified parents of the students who made the report, academy President Paul Armes said. The school also has written to parents of all current students, as well as parents of former students who have attended the academy since Bartlett-Dixon was employed.

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Bartlett-Dixon immediately was removed from the campus, Armes said. He has been suspended with pay pending investigation of the alleged incidents.

At least five boys have told sheriff’s investigators that Bartlett-Dixon fondled them between September 1998 and late last year, the Austin American-Statesman reported. He reportedly told the boys not to report the incidents, and they complied out of fear of retaliation, the paper said.

An affidavit also claims Bartlett-Dixon showed pornography to the boys, the paper reported.

Bartlett-Dixon lived in the dormitory. In addition to his dorm duties, he was involved with recreational activities, field trips and the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.

“We are shocked by the reports and saddened for all who may be involved,” Armes said. “We are using every resource available to care for the well-being of our students as the investigation of these allegations progresses.”

The academy has formed a task force to direct the school’s support for students during the crisis that has ensued the allegations, Armes said. Additional counselors have been secured to help all students who need spiritual and emotional support, he added, noting, “Our chief concern has been for the students.

“Brad was very popular in the middle school. The kids are frustrated. Some are very angry at him; others are angry at the sheriff’s department.”

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Bartlett-Dixon was subjected to the same procedure the academy uses to screen all new employees, Armes reported. School administrators studied his application, contacted references and also conducted a criminal background check.

The man used “Bartlett-Dixon” as his last name when he applied for employment, Armes said. He used “Bartlett,” his apparent birth name, as his last name at the school. He apparently gave “Dixon,” his stepfather’s name, as his last name to the sheriff’s department.

The academy conducted a background check on both names and “did not receive any indication” of prior criminal activity or complaints, Armes said.

San Marcos Baptist Academy is a 330-student boarding and day school affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. It receives about $440,000 of its $6 million budget from BGCT appropriations. Its 15-member board of directors is elected by the BGCT.

“Pray for us,” Armes asked of Texas Baptists. “Our chief concern is not for the institution, but for the students, especially those who may be scarred by this.”

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