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Friday, July 3, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Man Kills Self Before Sex Abuse Hearing

From Staff And Wire Reports

A Roosevelt Elementary School volunteer committed suicide two days before he was to appear in Clark County Superior Court on a charge of first-degree child molestation involving a student.

Donald Harry Dahl, 65, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home on Tuesday, authorities said. He had been scheduled for a court appearance Thursday.

Dahl was accused of putting his hand down the pants of a 7-year-old girl last fall. The investigation began in December, and the Vancouver School District told Dahl not to return to school until it was concluded.

The Clark County prosecutor’s office filed the charge in January.

Dahl had denied any wrongdoing.

Dahl’s widow, Pat, is a teacher at the school, and he had been a volunteer there since 1992, tutoring youngsters in reading and writing.

Counselors were available to students on Thursday.

Principal Marianne Thompson said the goal for the next few days was “to maintain as much normalcy as possible.”

The mother of the 7-year-old said her daughter has been in counseling and will have to cope with the shock of the suicide.

“I feel badly about Mrs. Dahl. She is a wonderful teacher,” the mother said. “But he changed my daughter emotionally for a lifetime.”

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