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A Farmington native is facing several felony charges after he allegedly touched several students inappropriately while working as a band director with the New Madrid County School District.

Ryan Blocker, 34, of Lilbourn, is being charged with five class E felonies sexual contact with a student and a class D felony of sexual contact with a student.

Blocker appeared in the Daily Journal in February 2015 after the Farmington High School graduate lost 370 pounds using the Healthy Weigh Program at St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau and was to be featured on the Rachael Ray Show.

According to a probable cause statement, on Sept. 10 an officer with the New Madrid County Sheriff’s Department was contacted by the director of district operations at the New Madrid County School District in regard to allegations that the band director touched some female students inappropriately.

The officer met with the director and the district superintendent at the school where they provided the officer with written statements some of the students provided the school, along with a list of contact information for potential victims.

The officer contacted the parents of each potential victim and scheduled interviews with each of them. On Sept. 15 the officer spoke with a girl less than 15 years old and during the interview she recalled she was at band practice before a game this year when she told Blocker her ribs were hurting.

She said Blocker lifted her shirt to just below her bra area and began rubbing her ribs aggressively. She added he also looked down her shirt. The girl said on another occasion when she was being fitted for her band uniform, Blocker was checking for tightness of the uniform and groped her inappropriately through her clothes. The girl said she stopped the fitting at that point because she felt uncomfortable and she said she asked some of the boys in the band and they told her Blocker does not fit them in that manner.

She also told the officer there have been several instances this school year where Blocker would touch her rear end. She explained that would happen when she was bent over or he would act like there was something on her behind and he would wipe it off.

On Sept. 16 the officer spoke with another girl less than 15 years old and during the interview she told the officer she was in the band room being fitted for a uniform when Blocker touched her inappropriately between her legs.

The girl said she jumped back and told him to stop, which he did, and she added it was her, Blocker and another female student in the room at the time.

On Sept. 17 the officer conducted an interview with another teenaged girl who said while being fitted for a band uniform during freshman orientation by Blocker, he grabbed around her upper leg and inner thigh area during the fitting. She also told the deputy that she witnessed Blocker do this to other female students as well. She added she had not seen Blocker fit male students in the same manner.

Also that same day a deputy interviewed a teenaged girl who said she was called out of volleyball practice by Blocker on the day of their first football game. She said she tried on her overalls and told Blocker they did not fit.

She explained Blocker had her stand on a chair and pulled her closer. The teen said Blocker told her they did not fit because she was getting thick. She said Blocker then rubbed her upper thigh area and had her put an upper carrier snare drum on. She said Blocker asked if it was comfortable as he rubbed her in a sexual manner. She told the deputy she told Blocker no and that he didn’t have to do all that.

The teen also said she was fitted the same day as two male students, but she was in a room alone with Blocker. She said she asked some of the male students if Blocker fitted them the same way and they told her he did not.

On that same day the officer conducted another interview with a teen less than 15 years old and she said that the year prior Blocker would throw erasers at her butt and then wipe the chalk off. She explained this continued through the school year and would happen about once a week.

She said Blocker would have her climb a ladder if something was needed off of a shelf and that Blocker would watch her while she was on the ladder and he would lift her off of it by her waist. She also said that while being fitted for a band uniform this year by Blocker, he grabbed her in a sexual manner.

When asked to describe what Blocker did she said he wasn’t grabbing fabric, he was grabbing her and that there wasn’t much fabric in that area and she didn’t know why he was grabbing her there in the first place. The teen said she tried to back away, but Blocker pulled her back to him.

She said Blocker turned her around and told her that her butt was getting bigger. She also said that while being fitted for uniforms, both this year and last year, Blocker would take her into a room with just the two of them. She added that when Blocker fitted male students he would just look at the uniform, maybe adjust a leg cuff and tell them it was fine.

The deputy interviewed another teen, less than 17 year old, that day and she said her incident happened two school years prior when she was a freshman. She said she picked out a uniform while being fitted and put it on. She said Blocker checked and adjusted the straps and asked her if it fit.

The teen explained Blocker then told her to stand on the riser and then stood beside her. He then put his hand on the zipper section of the uniform and grabbed her in a sexual manner. She said she was in the room with just Blocker at the time and the incident confused her.

On Sept. 18 the officer interviewed two girls less than 16 years old and during the interview they said they witnessed Blocker throw erasers at another female student and would wipe the chalk off with his hand. They said they witnessed this on several occasions.

The officer interviewed another teenaged girl and she said she was getting fitted for a band uniform by Blocker and Blocker asked her if her uniform pants were too tight. She told him they were and Blocker then grabbed the pants in the crotch area and touched her inappropriately. The girl stood up and demonstrated what Blocker did to her and how he cupped his hand.

She said it made her feel uncomfortable and she said she jumped back saying “whoa!” She explained Blocker then grabbed her by the uniform straps and pulled her back into him, and continued fitting her. 

The officer interviewed yet another teen that same day and she said she was present when the other girl was being fitted for her uniform. She said she was also being fitted for a uniform at the time and said Blocker rubbed her upper thigh while fitting her for the uniform.

She said she was confused and thought it may have been an accident until she saw what happened with the other teen. She said she was next to the girl when he grabbed her in a sexual manner, causing her to scream and jump back. She said she also jumped back when the girl was touched.

She also said she has seen Blocker throw erasers at another female student’s rear end and wipe the chalk off.

On Sept. 19 the officer interviewed the superintendent of the district and during the interview he said he spoken with other students since the allegations were reported and has learned that Blocker does not fit male students in the same manner as he does female students.

The superintendent said Blocker had not denied to him that touches female students at times while fitting them. He also said Blocker justified this to him by saying he had to ensure a proper fit for competitions. The superintendent said Blocker’s explanation did not make sense because middle school students do not perform in competitions.

He added that Blocker had been counseled and reprimanded in the past for inappropriate touching of female students and inappropriate contact on social media with female students.

The officer reported that several attempts were made to schedule an interview with Blocker, but all attempts were unsuccessful.

Blocker was being held in the New Madrid County Jail on a $50,000 cash or surety bond and bonded out the same day. He is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 1 at 9 a.m.

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Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or rbronaugh@dailyjournalonline.com

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