Former Harrisonville High coach now facing charges for alleged sexual contact with student

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A picture from the Harrisonville School’s Facebook page of Joe Dahman when he was hired in August 2015.

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HARRISONVILLE, Mo. — A former Harrisonville High School coach who was once the subject of two civil lawsuits is now facing criminal charges for alleged sexual contact with a student. 

Joseph Dahman has been charged in Cass County with five counts of sexual contact with a student while he worked as an ISS/Focus Facilitator and strength and conditioning coach.  

Charging documents filed Tuesday say the school resource officer first learned of allegations of inappropriate contact between Dahman and a student in August 2017. 

In an initial interview, Dahman admitted to receiving “inappropriate pictures,” court records say, but told police he never sent anything.

At first he said he’d never had contact with the girl outside school, but later said he’d gone by her house no more than twice to say “what’s up.” He then later said he’d given her a ride home from the middle school, too, court records say. 

A few days later, another girl came to the school counselor’s office after hearing rumors about Dahman and a student — thinking they were about her. 

Court documents say she told the counselor she’d had sex with Dahman that past summer. 

In a forensic interview, the teen said she messaged Dahman about “hanging out,” and he allegedly said he would let her know when she could come over to his parents’ house. 

Once there, the teen told officials Dahman gave her “Molly,” or ecstasy, and he took some as well. The girl said that’s when Dahman allegedly began sexually touching her and they had sex, according to court records. 

The girl told police there were at least three other incidents where Dahman touched her sexually that summer. 

In May 2020, DNA evidence collected from the girl’s car matched Dahman’s. 

Dahman was the subject of two civil lawsuits, which were settled in February 2020 for a total of $4 million

Dahman’s father, Frank Dahman, was superintendent of Harrisonville School District at the time of the allegations. 

The district and father and son, among others, were named in both suits, but the district was later released as a defendant.

Joseph Dahman resigned from the school in September, and Frank Dahman was placed on leave and later retired in 2018 as superintendent.

Under a special order, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office will handle this case. The victim has a family member who works at the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office. 

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