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ND teacher accused of sexual assault resigns

Walter Eldridge

WILLISTON, N.D.—A Williston High School teacher and coach who is facing a criminal charge for sexual misconduct has resigned.

Walter Eldridge delivered the notice to Williston's District No. 1 school board via a letter from his attorney earlier this month.

The "agreement to discharge for cause" was turned in after school officials wrapped up an independent investigation into allegations that Eldridge inappropriately touched at least one teenage girl.

"The school district had completed its finding of fact," said Superintendent Mike Campbell.

He declined to discuss the results of the investigation.

Eldridge, 33, was an English teacher as well as the girls' varsity basketball coach and a track coach. He was arrested in April and charged with sexual assault, a Class B misdemeanor, after a lengthy investigation by Williston police.

Detectives say Eldridge, who worked at the high school for about five years, inappropriately touched an 18-year-old girl in December.

He was put on paid administrative leave in mid-April, prior to his arrest later that month. In June, the school board met to discuss his termination and status as a paid employee, but decided not to make any changes.

Although authorities would not say whether the alleged victim was a student, a judge ordered no contact with any Williston High School student as a term of Eldridge's release on bond.

A trial is scheduled for November in Williston. If convicted, Eldridge could face up to 30 days in prison.

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