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Belfield School Board unanimously shoots down principal’s motion to dismiss misconduct case

BELFIELD — The Belfield Public School Board on Thursday evening unanimously rejected Principal Jeffrey Lamprecht’s motion to dismiss allegations involving his alleged misconduct with underage children.

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Now a hearing on the charges will be rescheduled.

The board held a closed executive session for approximately 20 minutes to discuss issues exempt from North Dakota’s open meetings laws. When the meeting reopened to the public, members unanimously moved to dismiss Lamprecht’s request to drop the case.

“In all fairness, it has to go through the hearing because we have to hear both sides,” board member Tony Krebs said. “... That’s why I feel it needs to go forward.”

The school board placed Lamprecht on leave in June after the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Belfield Police investigated allegations of improper behavior with students. In a 44-page document that included testimony from teachers, Lamprecht allegedly summoned a female student to his office and held her there for more than two class periods to discuss her medical condition. The student allegedly told teachers that Lamprecht allegedly put his hands on her and prayed over her to heal through faith.

The report also alleges Lamprecht gave the student a small package of pills, “took a photograph of her with his telephone and invited her to his basement to record music.” The pills were later given to Belfield police, according to the report.

Lamprecht admitted the meetings took place behind closed doors, but not as described by McDowell or the students. In the report, Lamprecht said the meetings were behind closed doors and were long, but that it was his intention to help his students.

History teacher Randy McDowell said in the report that other students came to him to make similar claims against the principal, though the report did not state how many or to what extent.

Lamprecht told BCI investigators that he took 15 to 20 photos of students with his cellphone and showed them to the agency. Most of the photos were of female students.

BCI Special Agent Travis Holding Eagle said in the report that, while Lamprecht’s behavior was criminal in nature, “the appropriate action would be to remedy the situation within the school district as opposed to pursuing criminal action.”

No criminal charges have been filed with district court.

According to North Dakota Century Code, a school administrator or staff member may be dismissed for immoral conduct.

Lymn is a reporter for The Dickinson Press. Press News Editor April Baumgarten contributed to this report. Contact them at 701-225-8141.