Sexual abuse charges filed against the brother of an NAACP official outed as white last month have been dropped.
Joshua Dolezal, 39, was thrust into the national spotlight in June after his younger sister Rachel Dolezal — the president of an NAACP chapter in Spokane, Wash., who identifies as black and attended Howard University — turned out to be the daughter of a Caucasian couple from Montana. Amid the controversy, she resigned.
“There seems to be some question of how Rachel is representing her identity and ethnicity,” Lawrence Dolezal said at the time. “We are definitely her birth parents. We are both of Caucasian and European descent — Czech, German and a few other things.”
Joshua Dolezal — a published author and an English professor at Central College, a private liberal arts college in Pella, Iowa — was pulled into the Dolezal story when it was revealed he was facing trial for the sexual abuse of a black child in the early 2000s. (The Washington Post does not name alleged victims of sex crimes.) Joshua is the oldest child of the Dolezal clan. Rachel is his only biological sibling — parents Lawrence and Ruthanne Dolezal have four adopted children, some of whom are black.
“The family had a subscription to National Geographic magazine,” an affidavit in the case read. “… Joshua Dolezal showed [redacted] his collection of photos of topless and naked African women.”
It continued: “Joshua Dolezal was turned on by the black body and was curious about black women sexually.”
Now, a court in Denver has dismissed the four felony counts of sexual abuse of a minor Dolezal faced, as the Des Moines Register reported.
“I can definitely confirm the court dismissed the charges today,” Norm Mueller, Joshua Dolezal’s attorney in Clear Creek County, Colo., told the Coeur d’Alene Press. “… The prosecutor said he could not prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Rachel Dolezal, reached by e-mail, objected to any implication that her brother had been “cleared” of the charges.
“Why are you saying he was ‘cleared?'” she wrote. “The jury trial never happened. [The victim] didn’t get her day in court yet.” Asked for further comment, she wrote: “This is a private family matter. I’m not doing any interviews at this time.”
In a statement e-mailed to The Post, Joshua Dolezal said he and his family were “grateful that these false allegations have been dismissed and that justice has prevailed. We are thankful to our family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues who have supported us throughout this ordeal, and we are so happy to once again face the future with hope.”
As Rachel Dolezal resigned her NAACP post and sparked a national debate about race and “transracial” identity, the allegations against Joshua Dolezal offered a reminder that hers was first a story of a troubled family. In interviews with The Post and other outlets, the Dolezals alleged Rachel orchestrated the charges against Joshua to win custody of her brother Izaiah. Izaiah, who is black, lives with Rachel Dolezal in Spokane — and Rachel says he is her son, the family alleged.
Lawrence and Ruthanne Dolezal, Joshua and Rachel’s parents, defended their son and broadly denied abuse in their family, as well as Rachel Dolezal’s allegations that she was physically abused as a child.
“If she’s alleging there was abuse in our family from years past, then it’s false and there’s no need to comment on anything of that nature,” Lawrence Dolezal told The Post in June. “That’s just utter falsehood.”
Late Tuesday, they said they were pleased the charges had been dismissed.
“The court’s decision to dismiss the false charges against Joshua is an appropriate acknowledgement of his innocence,” Larry and Ruthanne Dolezal wrote in a statement e-mailed to The Post. “We are sincerely thankful that justice has been served.”
Central College also appeared ready to move on.
“We continue to value Josh as important member of our academic community,” president Mark Putnam told the Gazette of Cedar Rapids.