Lexington police say they are looking into the possibility of multiple additional cases involving a former Fayette County Public Schools employee charged with sodomy and sexual abuse of a 13-year-old boy.
Jason Thompson, 31, of Lexington is scheduled to appear in Fayette District Court on Thursday to answer the sodomy and abuse charges, but police say their investigation is continuing.
"We are looking into accusations of Mr. Thompson having multiple cases of inappropriate contact with minors," police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said Wednesday.
According to documents filed in district court, Thompson is accused of performing oral sex on the 13-year-old boy and fondling him in a separate incident. The incidents occurred in 2009, according to the documents.
Thompson, a 1999 graduate of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, worked for the school system from 2006 until he resigned at the end of the 2010-11 school year. He last worked at Leestown Middle School, where he was a special education instructional assistant and coached the school's dance team.
Superintendent Tom Shelton said Tuesday that Thompson resigned in June 2011 after district officials questioned him about allegations of inappropriate contact between Thompson and a minor. The school district reported the allegations to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and is cooperating with police, Shelton said.
According to information posted on various Web sites, Jason Thompson is a certified instructor of Zumba, a dance-fitness program inspired by Latin dance music.
Thompson has appeared in a Zumba game video, can be seen dancing in some Zumba videos on YouTube, and has traveled internationally to participate in Zumba master classes. He taught in Japan in December and has appeared since then at classes in Washington state, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Florida. Online, he has been called an "internationally renowned Zumba Fitness instructor" and one of "Zumba's elite instructors."
Cathya Beard, a Lexington-based Zumba teacher, said Wednesday that Thompson also once taught hip-hop at a Lexington athletic club. He has become widely known as a Zumba teacher during the past few years, she said. Beard said she had been getting text messages about the case from other Zumba instructors in the area.
"He definitely is well-known in the Zumba world," Beard said of Thompson. "We all kind of know who he is, especially for the achievement he's gotten over the past year or so with Zumba."
Beard said she had considered Thompson to be "a good person" and was shocked to hear about the charges.
"I knew him and have had some conversations with him," she said. "I have mixed emotions about the whole thing; when you know someone it makes a difference. I just pray that the truth will come out."
Tara Johnson, another Lexington Zumba instructor, said she had taken a few classes taught by Thompson.
"He has really high energy and enthusiasm as an instructor," Johnson said. "I don't know him personally, but he is well-known. He is a master of Zumba."
Meanwhile, Fayette County Public Schools said letters would be mailed Thursday to all parents who have children at Leestown Middle School now or had children at Leestown when Thompson worked there.
District spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said the letters would update parents on the case and provide information about where parents may seek advice in talking to their children about the situation.
Jim Warren: (859) 231-3255.