An instructor from the U.S. Army who worked at Tooele High School has been arrested in connection with allegations of sexual conduct with a student at the school.
Staff Sgt. Brian Joseph Dragon, 32, of Herriman, Utah, was not an employee of the Tooele County School District and was provided by the U.S. Army as the instructor of the Students Taking Active Roles (STAR) program.
He was arrested on Saturday and booked into the Tooele County Detention Center on three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old but Tooele City police announced they would be screening charges of rape with the Tooele County Attorney’s Office.
No charges have been filed against Dragon in 3rd District Court as of Tuesday morning.
According to Tooele City police, the Tooele High school resource officer was contacted by the school’s principal last Friday. A student had informed the principal of suspicious behavior involving an instructor at the school, prompting an investigation from Tooele City police detectives.
In a probable cause statement from Tooele City police, the reporting student said Dragon would frequently lock the door of a portable classroom while he was with a 17-year-old female student. The student also told police Dragon would spend time with the student in the office portion of the portable classroom with the doors locked and windows covered; the student also reported there was a blanket in the drawer of the office desk.
Tooele City police interviewed the female student about the report and she confirmed she had been in the portable classroom alone with Dragon on several occasions, according to the probable cause statement. She also told police that Dragon had touched her breasts and they had sex three times in the office.
No additional victims have been identified but the case remains an ongoing investigation, Tooele City police said.
According to Jeff Ross, Salt Lake City Army Recruiting Battalion Chief of Public Affairs, Dragon taught at the high school either two or three days a week, depending on the school cycle. Ross said Dragon was the primary instructor but there were times when other instructors were provided.
The STAR program is provided for schools without a Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Course or military academy, Ross said. Dragon worked out of the West Valley recruiting office and frequented high schools and colleges in the area, including Tooele Valley and other institutions like Cyprus High School.
Due to the pending investigation, Dragon has been assigned to administrative tasks in the West Valley office, according to Ross.
Tooele County School District Communications Director Marie Denson said the district is not commenting on the case as Dragon was not an employee or specifically requested to serve as an instructor.
“This is deeply upsetting that it happened on our property with one of our students,” Denson said.
Denson also commended the student who came forward and told the principal about the suspicious behavior involving Dragon. A letter from Tooele High School Principal Jeffrey Hamm was sent to students and parents today notifying them of the allegations against Dragon.
“We want to assure parents the district promptly investigates all allegations that can potentially impact the safety of our students and school operations,” Hamm said.