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Richland 44 School Board OK’s third investigation into alleged sexual misconduct

COLFAX, N.D. – For the first time since investigators began looking into alleged sexual misconduct between students at the junior and senior high school here, the Richland 44 School Board on Tuesday, Feb. 13, addressed the allegations.

The school district opened an investigation late last month after parents complained of potential sexual misconduct with students, including allegations that bullying or hazing of younger boys by older students was happening in the boys locker room.

A few days later, district officials alerted local authorities, and the Richland County Sheriff’s Office launched its own investigation. At Tuesday’s School Board meeting that drew a large crowd, the board decided to open a third investigation.

Board member Nathan Berseth proposed looking for an independent investigator, something other members said they believed was a good idea.

“We need to figure out what really happened, and what went wrong. An independent investigator is what makes sense,” said Board President Lisa Amundson.

The proposal to open a third investigation was promptly approved as the board agreed that regardless of the sheriff’s office’s criminal investigation, another viewpoint was needed.

Board members said they hope to find out what went wrong by giving an independent investigator full access to figure it out. That investigator will be chosen by the district’s legal counsel, though a timeline wasn’t offered at Tuesday’s meeting.