Joseph F. Dahman, 29, a former Harrisonville High School staff member entered a plea of guilty to two felony charges of sexual contact with a student during a plea hearing last week.
In a packed courtroom, Dahman, who now lives in Independence, was unwavering Jan. 21 as he appeared before Judge J. Michael Rumley. Originally charged with five felony counts of sexual contact with a student, Dahman entered his plea in accordance with a plea agreement establishedby Special Prosecutor Erin Hunt, Jackson County, and Dahman, who is represented by attorney Veronica Bowden, Olathe, Kansas.
The range of punishment established by the court included a limit of four years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and a sentence of no fewer than two years in state prison. At that same time, Dahman waived his right to a preliminary hearing and was bound over to circuit court.
The plea agreement between the two parties consisted of the dismissal of counts two, three and five against Dahman and the acceptance of two four-year sentences in the Missouri Department of Corrections on counts one and four. Additionally, Dahman will serve the sentences consecutively in the Sex Offender Assessment Unit with the stipulation that Cass County will retain jurisdiction over him and he must relinquish his teaching certification, which has already been done.
A sentencing assessment report will be conducted prior to the sentencing hearing at 9 a.m. Feb. 25 at the Cass County Justice Center.
Until then, Dahman is free on bond which was established Sept. 9 during a case review. Dahman’s original bond was set at $50,000 cash only and was later amended $50,000 with 10 percent cash being required.
As a result, Dahman posted a $5,000 bond July 10 and was released from the Cass County Jail, according to court records. Conditions of the amended bond allows Dahman supervised contact with minors in his family, but prohibits direct or indirect contact with the victim or any child under the age of 18, according to court records.
The charges stem from the crimes committed between July 1 and July 31, 2017, while Dahman was employed by the Harrisonville R-9 School District.
After an investigation of more than two years, a warrant was issued June 23, 2020 for Dahman’s arrest and he subsequently turned himself to police the following day.
According to the probable cause statement filed with the court, Det. Charles Sheppard of the Harrisonville Police Department outlined the chain of events which led to the charges.
On Aug. 25, 2017, the Harrisonville High School resource officer was contacted about allegations of inappropriate contact between a student and a teacher. At that time, Dahman, whose father was superintendent of the school district, was a high school in-school suspension and Focus facilitator and for a time was also employed as a strength and conditioning coach.
During the initial investigation, Dahman admitted having received inappropriate pictures from a student, but denied sending anything and denied having any contact with the student outside of school.
On Aug. 30, 2017, another student contacted a counselor at HHS, saying she had heard rumors about Dahman and a student and thought they were about her. She stated she had sex with him during the summer between school years. During interviews, she talked about contacting Dahman to “hang out” and he had messaged her his fiancé was home and he would message her when she left.
The student then explained she entered Dahman’s parents’ home through a window and she drew a diagram of the bedroom. Once in the room, Dahman allegedly gave her “Molly” and took some himself. Molly, also known as ecstasy, is a psychoactive drug. The victim said she knew it was Molly when she took it.
According to the probable cause statement, she said they had sex and said they then went to the woods, smoked weed and then returned to the home where they performed other sex acts.
She said it was not the first incident with him. The first was at the Twin Pines Councasions, but she could not remember specific dates.
On Aug. 31, 2017, Harrisonville detectives and members of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at the residence and Sheppard noted the bedroom was much as the victim had described, except the bed had been replaced by a buffet.
On Nov. 16, 2017. Harrisonville Police received electronic data after a forensic laboratory examined Dahman’s phone. The examiner reported they observed texts from him referring to drugs as well as pictures of possible joints and lines of white powder with a AAA card with the name Joseph Dahman on it. Phone logs showed a number of calls between Dahman and the victim between March and July 2017.
On March 5, 2018, Sheppard said he was contacted by the second victim’s father who said he had found possible evidence, including clothes and other items which could possibly have Dahman’s DNA on them.
On May 7, 2020, Sheppard received the lab results from the Missouri State Highway Patrol that stated, “the sperm fraction of the same stain is consistent with Joseph Dahman at an approximate frequency of 1 in 1.60 sextillion.”