Aurora West dean accused of bringing gun to school pleads not guilty to all charges; remains on paid leave

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AURORA | An Aurora middle school dean, who was the nexus of an April school-gun controversy that embroiled a host of agencies and officials, has pleaded not guilty to several criminal charges, according to court officials.

Tushar Rae, 31, formally entered a not-guilty plea to four charges — three felonies and one misdemeanor — filed against him in Arapahoe County at an arraignment hearing Oct. 21, according to Vikki Migoya, spokeswoman for the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Pictured: Tushar Rae. Photo provided by the Denver District Attorney’s Office.

Rae, a dean of instruction at Aurora West Preparatory Academy, also pleaded not guilty to two additional felony and three misdemeanor charges filed against him in a Denver case Oct. 3, according to Carolyn Tyler, spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney’s Office

Rae is accused of bringing a handgun to Aurora West on April 3 and threatening staff with the weapon. His Arapahoe County case stems from that incident.

Rae allegedly told former West Principal Taisiya Tselolikhin: “Try and f**k with me … I don’t want to hurt you. I’m going to hurt all the people around you,” according to court documents. 

Investigators claim he then said he was going to shoot the knee caps off of two school administrators.

Despite Tselolikhin placing West on lockdown, Rae left the school and drove to his Denver home where he was later arrested by Denver Police.

Aurora West students walked out of class in the days following the incident to protest how the district and police handled the event.

Investigators later learned Rae was involved in an affair with Tselolikhin, who was then married. Rae is accused of threatening Tselolikhin with a gun twice in the month before the incident at West, according to court documents. Rae’s criminal case in Denver stems from those suspected domestic violence incidents.

Tselolikhin told police Rae produced a black handgun inside of his Denver home after the two had gone to an escape room and a bar on March 1, according to an affidavit filed against Rae.  Tselolikhin said Rae pointed the gun — the same weapon he was accused of using to threaten administrators at Aurora West — at Tselolikhin’s chest, then moved the gun slightly away from her before firing one round. Tselolikhin was not injured in the incident.

Tselolikhin resigned shortly after the incident at West and Rae was placed on paid administrative, an Aurora Public Schools spokesman confirmed. Rae remains on paid leave.

Rae posted a $200,000 bond in his Arapahoe County case following the incident at West, according to jail records. But he was arrested again days later on charges related to the suspected domestic violence incidents.

He later posted an additional $75,000 bond in his Denver case, according to Denver County Court records.

Rae is scheduled to appear in court next for his Denver case on Dec. 5. That case is scheduled to go to a one-day trial on March 2, 2020.

In his Arapahoe County case, Rae is due to appear in court for a case management conference on Nov. 25, according to Migoya.

That case is scheduled for a separate five-day trial beginning Feb. 25.