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Teacher makes first court appearance on felony sex charges

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- A Grand Forks Central High School teacher made his first appearance in court Thursday morning on two felony charges for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a student.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- A Grand Forks Central High School teacher made his first appearance in court Thursday morning on two felony charges for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a student.

James Patrick Whalen, 41, of Grand Forks, was charged Wednesday with two counts of corruption or solicitation of a minor, one accusing him of engaging in a sexual act at the school and another for an act with the same minor at his home, according to court records.

Judge John Thelen set a $5,000 bond for Whalen. If Whalen posts 10 percent of the bond, he could be released, but if he fails to appear for any future hearings, he would have to pay the full $5,000, Assistant State's Attorney Haley Wamstad said.

Whalen was booked in Grand Forks County Correctional Center at about 5:30 a.m. Thursday.

Judge Thelen also approved a no-contact order between Whalen and the student in the case.

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Whalen appears next at 1:30 p.m. on April 6 in Grand Forks District Court.

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