March 22, 2018 06:00 PM
The Rocori School District superintendent and now-former finalist for the top school post in Moorhead was arrested this week on charges he exposed himself multiple times in recent months at a central Minnesota gas station.
Waite Park police said in a release Thursday that surveillance video from a Kwik Trip gas station and a vehicle registration check established the suspect of a recent indecent exposure complaint as 56-year-old Scott Staska, the Rocori superintendent.
"For someone in his position, being around, potentially around kids, I think they need to be held to a higher standard," Waite Park Police Chief David Bentrud said.
Police said officers received the complaint about 1:45 a.m. Monday, but that the exposure had occurred Sunday, shortly after midnight.
In a release, Waite Park police say Staska could be seen on surveillance exposing himself to store employees.
"I don't know him, but I would say it's highly unusual behavior," Bentrud added. "There's no indication of anything like this in his ... past. I don't know why now. It doesn't make sense."
Police said the initial investigation found similar behavior had occurred at least four times at the same store dating to December 2017.
Staska was booked into Stearns County Jail Wednesday on misdemeanor probable cause indecent exposure charges. He was released the same day, jail records show. He has not yet been formally charged
Rocori school board chair Kara Habben said Staska is on paid administrative leave. He's been head of the school district since the 2002-03 school year. Staska will continue to collect his $152,400 annual salary.
Habben said the district takes the charges seriously and is cooperating with law enforcement. The district is not aware of "any past or pending safety issues to any of our students or staff," she said.
Pam Gibb, communications coordinator for Moorhead Area Public Schools, said Staska removed himself from consideration for the superintendent post the district is currently trying to fill, though he was still listed as a candidate Thursday on the district's website.
The school board there had scheduled interviews to begin Friday afternoon and continue Saturday. Those interviews are open to the public, the website says. Gibb said interviews will go forward with the remaining five candidates.
Bentrud said Kwik Trip employees should have reported the incidents, but did not.
"The general comment, I think, that we got was 'we see a lot of crazy stuff at night,' and (the employees) kind of rationalized it away, tried to ignore what he was doing," Bentrud said.
A knock on the door of Staska's home in Cold Spring went unanswered.
A Kwik Trip spokesperson declined to comment, citing an ongoing investigation. Police said the investigation continues.
The Rocori district released the following statement Thursday:
The ROCORI School District is aware of the pending criminal charges regarding Superintendent Scott Staska. The School District takes the safety and security of our students and staff very seriously and has been cooperating and will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement in its investigation. We are not aware, however, of any past or pending safety issues to any of our students or staff.
Mr. Staska is on a paid leave. The School District has not received any complaints regarding Mr. Staska since he commenced employment with the School District in 2002-2003 school year.
This is the extent of the information the School District can provide about this matter at this time as any further data is classified as private or confidential pursuant to state data privacy laws.
Michael Oakes and Tim Vetscher
Updated: March 22, 2018 06:00 PM
Created: March 22, 2018 10:10 AM
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