DENVER -- The Denver Public School's newly appointed board member is a convicted child abuser and on Wednesday night, she explained that conviction.
The conviction came to light after the FOX31 Problem Solvers conducted a background check on MiDian Z. Holmes, 35, who was appointed Tuesday night during a special session.
She replaces former school board member Landri Taylor, who resigned last month, citing family reasons. Holmes was one of 20 candidates, according to a school district news release.
In 2006, Holmes had a 2006 conviction for child abuse along with other citations and criminal complaints.
According to court records, Holmes was also charged with “wrongs to minors” in 2005. The case was dismissed in an apparent exchange for a court-appointed two-day parenting class and one year of court-supervised probation.
In 2006, records indicated Holmes was arrested for one count child abuse and one count of child abuse/no injuries/negligence. The first count was dismissed, and Holmes was found guilty of the second count. She was sentenced to 15 days in jail and 12 months of supervised probation. There are also notations regarding a protection order connected to the case.
On Wednesday, Holmes talked about her past and her goals as a school board member.
"Should you not be qualified to be on this school board because criminal conviction dealing with children," Holmes was asked.
"It's a valid question that all Denver parents should ask: Do you have the right person representing your family, your voice and ultimately your children?" Holmes said.
"I think my story would resonate with the parents of District 4 and I think that with the work that I’ve been able to do in advocacy over the last 10 years, building relationships, having conversations, staying engaged, staying plugged in with my children, with the schools in my district and schools in my neighborhood. I really truly feel that I am qualified."
Calls to the Denver City Attorney to clarify and provide additional documents were not returned.
Court records also show three “distraint warrants” in Holmes' name for failure to pay taxes, plus citations for multiple driving violations, including speeding in a safety zone.
Denver Public Schools released a statement Wednesday night.
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.
An earlier DPS news release said Holmes graduated from the University of Denver, but a school spokesman said that was not true. The university said Holmes attended DU for two quarters in 2001 and was “registered part time for both terms.”
School records show Holmes submitted a resume seemingly worthy of getting onto the Denver School Board as a replacement candidate, including being Denver chapter chair for Stand for Children and on Gov. John Hickenlooper’s State Council for Educator Effectiveness.
On Holmes' application, she marked “no” on two questions that asked if she had ever been convicted of a felony and if she had ever been convicted of a Class A misdemeanor.
In addition to issues with her criminal background check, the Problem Solvers checked Holmes' resume on file with the school district to see if any other information might have been missed.
Holmes will be formally sworn onto the Denver School Board on Monday.