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Elkhorn South teacher accused of felony child abuse makes first court appearance

Bond set for $75,000
Posted at 11:56 AM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 19:17:00-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Michelle Bluford, the Elkhorn South High School band teacher who is accused of felony child abuse, made her first court appearance Wednesday morning.

She is accused of sexually abusing a student who has since graduated. Some may find the descriptions in this story disturbing.

READ MORE: Elkhorn South band director arrested on felony child abuse charge

“They began a routine in which the defendant required the victim to hug her every morning before school and at the end of the day,” Faith Kjelstrup, Deputy County Attorney said.

Kjelstrup said things escalated from there.

“The victim would sit on the defendant's lap and she would rock her,” Kjelstrup said. “They referred to this a quiet time, judge. They did this approximately three times a week at the school. She would then rock the victims face close to her chest as though they were trying to breastfeed. She also repeatedly kissed the victims head, face and arms.”

Kjelstrup told the judge Bluford would take the victim to her car for cuddling sessions.

“The defendant would intertwine her legs with the victim and hug the victim tightly,” Kjelstrup said. “The victim said she would pretend to be asleep and the defendant would rub her hands over the victims clothed body including the victims vagina and her breasts.”

Incidents happened both on and off school grounds over the course of a couple of years.

“At some point, the victim came over to the defendant's apartment and saw numerous photos of the victim, including a large photo of the victim displayed at the defendant's apartment,” Kjelstrup said.

Matthew Knipe, Bluford’s attorney said she has long-standing ties to the community.

“She has resided in the Omaha area for several decades,” Knipe said. “Previously was employed with Elkhorn Schools for about 20 years.”

According to her biography on the Music for All website, where Bluford is listed as a summer symposium faculty member, before teaching in Elkhorn she spent six years at Ponca Public Schools and six years at Benson High School.

The judge set Bluford’s bond at $75,000. Her preliminary hearing is August 27 at 9 a.m.

A spokesperson for Elkhorn Public Schools said Bluford remains on administrative leave and they will continue to cooperate with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office investigation.