CO School Board Member Has Child Abuse Past

.jpg photo of Denver School Board member
MiDian Holmes

New DPS board member once convicted of
Child Abuse

DENVER, CO  –  The newest board member for Denver Public Schools was once convicted of child abuse, according to court documents obtained by 9NEWS.

MiDian Holmes, the newly appointed board director for northeast Denver and DPS Board President Anne Rowe spoke exclusively to 9NEWS reporter Noel Brennan Wednesday afternoon at the district’s headquarters.

“I guess the best way to put it, is my biggest nightmare as a parent happened,” Holmes said, describing a November 2005 incident involving her then two-year-old daughter.

Holmes said she was getting ready for work when her daughter wandered out of the apartment.  Holmes said she discovered her child was missing and noticed her front door was cracked open.  She said she went outside to look for her child.

“A neighbor saw me panicked and looking – she saw the panic in my eyes and she came to me,” Holmes described.  “She said, ‘Do you have a daughter?’  And I said, ‘Yes’ and she said, ‘I found her and I took her to the leasing office.’”

Holmes said police were called and she was charged with “wrongs to minors,” a violation of Denver city code.  Court records obtained by 9NEWS show the case was dismissed and Holmes was ordered to take parenting classes and sentenced to one year of probation.

“I wanted to move forward.  I wanted to move on,” Holmes said.  “I wanted to, you know, put this behind me and raise my kids, and I did.”

School Board President Anne Rowe said Holmes disclosed details of the 2005 incident during the application process.

“MiDian was very up-front and candid with regard to the situation that happened approximately 10 years ago with her daughter,” Rowe said.

However, court records obtained by 9NEWS showed a separate 2006 case in which Holmes pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor child abuse charge.  The records showed a jail sentence of 15 days was imposed and Holmes’ probation was extended six months.

Holmes denied that the 2006 case was separate.

“The case would have to be related to the situation that took place with my daughter,” Holmes said, adding “I’ve never been to jail.”

Holmes later clarified that she spent 16 hours in jail after failing to appear in court for a traffic ticket.

School Board President Anne Rowe said she couldn’t comment on the 2006 child abuse case.

“I can’t really speak to that right now,” she said.  “I am comfortable in the decision we made.”

A spokeswoman for Denver Public Schools also addressed a typo in a press release sent out Tuesday which stated MiDian Holmes graduated from the University of Denver.

According to DU, Holmes attended two quarters at the university but did not graduate. Nancy Mitchell, DPS chief communication officer, clarified Wednesday that Holmes received a degree from National Association of Credit Management.

On Wednesday, Denver Public Schools sent out the following statement:

While we have directly responded to a number of inquiries today regarding our newly selected board member, MiDian Holmes, we would like to take this opportunity to respond in writing.  Prior to Ms. Holmes being appointed to the board seat representing Northeast Denver, she informed board members about a situation in which she was accused of neglecting her 2-year-old daughter.  Here is what she shared with board members:

When this occurred more than a decade ago, Ms. Holmes was the single mother of three young children under the age of 10.  After seeing her two oldest children off for the day, and while her young daughter was sleeping, Ms. Holmes showered in preparation for her work day.  When she emerged from the bathroom, she discovered her daughter was no longer in bed and the apartment door was ajar. She ran outside to search for her child and a neighbor, noticing her frantic searching, let her know that she had found the young girl and had taken her to the leasing office of the apartment complex.  Ms. Holmes went to the office and was told they had contacted police; police had picked up the girl.  Ms. Holmes was charged with neglecting her daughter in the case.  She was unable to afford an attorney but did not meet the income requirements to qualify for a public defender.  She represented herself and, after a discussion with the prosecuting attorney, agreed to plead guilty.  She was eager to put the situation behind her and move forward with her family. Ms. Holmes was sentenced to parenting classes and she satisfactorily completed the requirement.  At no time did Ms. Holmes inaccurately respond to questions on the board member application or questionnaire.  She also did not represent on her resume that she graduated from the University of Denver; she simply indicated she had attended the school.  The press release from the DPS Office of Communications incorrectly stated she was a DU graduate.

Holmes was selected from nine finalists to complete the four-year term vacated by Landri Taylor who resigned in February.  Landri’s term is set to expire in 2017.

During a special meeting Tuesday, the DPS Board of Education announced Holmes as the new Board Director for northeast Denver. She is set to be sworn in at the Board of Education work session Monday, April 18.

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