- Associated Press - Thursday, July 24, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The Belfield Public School Board will hold a hearing next month over allegations of questionable practices by the town’s high school principal with several female students, a school board member said Thursday.

The board suspended Jeffrey Lamprecht without pay last month at a special meeting after an official with the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation said it was his opinion there were “behaviors that were criminal in nature,” but that action would be best handled by the school district, according to a report compiled by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation this spring.

Board member Tony Krebs said the panel will meet next Wednesday to set a date for the August hearing on the matter.

Lamprecht regularly met with the female students for long periods of time in his office with the door closed and allegedly bought one student an $800 guitar and gave her his cellphone, according to the report compiled by Special Agent Travis Holding Eagle, who led the investigation.

Lamprecht is not facing any criminal charges and told investigators he was only looking out for the well-being of his students. The criminal investigation is considered closed.

A phone number could not be found for Lamprecht and he didn’t return an email request for comment Thursday.

Law enforcement officials initially began looking into the allegations against Lamprecht after Randy McDowell, a social studies teacher, told police that a student had approached him and another teacher and said she had been summoned to talk with the principal for several hours one day.

She said Lamprecht spoke to her about her medical condition and said he could heal her through faith, before allegedly putting his hands on her and praying for her. The student said Lamprecht also took a cellphone photo of her without her consent, invited to her to his basement to record music and left her with small package of dietary pills.

Lamprecht had allegedly been calling the student to his office three to four times per week for an average of one to three hours through the school year, the student told Holding Eagle.

Lamprecht had also allegedly bought her an $800 Yamaha guitar after she joined the school’s guitar club in November of 2013 and gave her his personal cellphone, telling her “Call me if you ever need anything.”

The student eventually approached McDowell to tell him how uncomfortable the meetings with the principal made her feel.

Holding Eagle also spoke with a former student who said she was regularly called into Lamprecht’s office for two to three hours each week. The student told Holding Eagle that other students drew conclusions that the meetings were sexual in nature.

After being interviewed by Holding Eagle, Lamprecht emailed the investigator, saying he was trying to reconcile the student’s claims against him.

“There WERE (sic) times when (the student) would come in to talk — and some of those conversations were relatively lengthy — but I wasn’t the one initiating the discussions. And in no way was I ever given the impression she felt threatened by me,” Lamprecht wrote to Holding Eagle. The principal’s email was included in Holding Eagle’s report.

Lamprecht told Holding Eagle that he’s an administrator who cares about his students as much as a father cares for his children.

School Board member Tony Krebs said the board will meet next week to set a date for the hearing in August.

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