St. Paul Schools Conducting Internal Investigation after Asst. Elem. Principal Charged

Updated: 07/21/2014 5:50 PM
Created: 07/21/2014 5:17 PM
By: Megan Stewart

St. Paul Public Schools has launched an internal investigation after an elementary school assistant principal was charged with failing to report alleged sexual abuse by a former custodian.

The misconduct allegedly took place at Linwood Monroe Arts Plus in the 2011-12 school year.

Beth A. Behnke, 48, of Burnsville was principal in 2011 when custodian Walter Happel allegedly spied on an 11-year-old boy in a bathroom. Craig A. Guidry, 52, of Arden Hills was assistant principal.

On March 19, 2014, a “Confidential Students Maltreatment Report Form” was filed by a school social worker. It identified the incident as “sexual assault,” according to the criminal complaint.

Guidry admitted he was aware of the incidents and Behnke was also made aware of the incidents, the complaint says. Guidry could not recall if police were notified. He said he was aware of the mandated reporter law, but it was not his responsibility and someone else in the school administration would report it.

Guidry is currently an assistant principal at Jackson Elementary in St. Paul.

The school sent an e-mail to Jackson Elementary parents Friday afternoon saying an internal investigation was being conducted.

Superintendent Sharon Freemen sent the following message:

Dear Jackson Elementary Community,

There have been recent news reports that mentioned Craig Guidry, assistant principal at Jackson Elementary. I’m writing to provide information based on what’s already been reported in the media, because we feel it’s important to communicate directly with families and staff of the Jackson Elementary community.

Mr. Guidry was recently charged with a misdemeanor for failing to report suspected staff misconduct while he was assistant principal at Linwood Monroe Arts Plus in the 2011-12 school year. Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) is conducting an internal investigation into this issue.

We want you to know that SPPS has already made changes to remind staff about their requirements for reporting issues that may put children at risk. We are doing everything we can to keep our students safe in their schools and classrooms. I want to thank you for supporting your child and Saint Paul Public Schools.

Minneapolis/St. Paul

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