Public Safety

Walker man accused of abusing autistic teen was city council member, substitute teacher

David Brown resigned Monday, has been removed from schools' lists

WALKER — Days after being charged with felony counts of sexually abusing an autistic teenager, David J. Brown quit a short-lived position on the Walker City Council and was removed from the school district’s list of potential substitute teachers.

Brown, 61, last served as substitute teacher on May 10, records show, three days before he was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Walker council.

He served as a public official only about 10 weeks before he was arrested June 25 on two counts of third-degree sexual abuse. According to records, a woman told investigators she walked in on him July 12 while he was engaged in sexual behavior with the boy.

Brown since has been released from the Linn County Jail after posting a $20,000 cash bail.

Initially declining to comment, Brown called back The Gazette.

“There have been an awful lot of people hurt by this,” he said. “And I don’t expect you to have compassion for me, but I ask that you at least have compassion for my family.”

In addition to serving as a public official, Brown worked as a substitute teacher at several schools. But his standing as a substitute teacher in the area has been rendered “inactive,” meaning he no longer is available for teaching assignments, according to Renee Nelson, director of communications for the Grant Wood Area Education Agency. The agency works with school districts to centralize and cost-share many processes, including the coordination and placement of substitute teachers.

Background checks for these positions are extensive, Nelson said.

“These substitute teacher placements require thorough background checks and accreditation examination through the Board of Educational Examiners,” she said this week in an email to The Gazette.

“Staff successfully completed a background check on David Jonathan Brown when he registered as a substitute teacher in the system on May 5, 2017,” she said. “There were no charges indicated until his recent charge on July 12.”

Iowa court records confirm Brown previously had no criminal past in the state.

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His name has since been removed from the agency’s substitute teacher assignment system, Nelson said, and the districts he substituted in have removed him from their rosters.

Records provided by Grant Wood AEA show Brown filled multiple substitute teaching posts over the past two years at area elementary, middle, intermediate and high schools.

Assignments included teaching physical education, language arts, science, math and business education. The schools he taught at most frequently were Center Point-Urbana middle and high schools.

Brown resigned Monday from the Walker City Council, according to the Linn County Auditor’s Office, again opening the vacancy.

Council members Rozena McVey and Kene Shoop declined to comment. Voicemail messages and emails for Mayor James Voss and council members Rob Dunn and Paul Neilson went unanswered.

Now with a vacant seat on the council, Walker’s mayor and the remaining council members will have to meet to decide how they want to fill it, said Rebecca Stonawski, deputy commissioner of elections with the Linn County Auditor’s Office.

Stonawski said there are three options: they can appoint someone within 60 days of Brown’s resignation; wait for the next election on Nov. 5; or call for a special election.

“I expect that they will either start the process to appoint (a new person) or simply wait to fill the seat at the next city election,” she said in an email to The Gazette.

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Brown made his initial appearance Friday in Linn County District Court. A preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 5.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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