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Parents sue Bemidji Schools over 'ignored reports of exploitation' by former assistant principal

(KVLY)
Published: Jan. 16, 2020 at 1:04 PM CST
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Two victims exploited by former Bemidji Middle School Principal Brandon Bjerknes are now suing the school district.

The 33-page lawsuit asks for a judgment of no less than $75,000, claiming Bemidji Area Schools 'failed to investigate concerns' that Bemidji students were being targeted and sent explicit content.

Officials arrested Bjerknes in March of 2017 after investigators found he preyed on students by posing as Brett Larson and using Snapchat to have sexual conversations with minors.

The complaint states Bjerknes pressured and dared children to send him sexually explicit photos and videos of themselves, as well as dared minors to watch porn and 'a Snapchat of him masturbating.'

"Not only did Bjerknes use information he obtained as Assistant Principal to identify his own middle-school students to prey upon, but he also used school property to solicit, transmit, collect and create the sexually explicit content," the complaint says.

The lawsuit goes on to say Bjerknes would hold meetings before and after school with students, often with his door shut, providing them with candy and other free food as part of 'his grooming technique.'

The lawsuit says the tip that launched an investigation by local law enforcement and ultimately led to Bjerknes's arrest six months later, was the very same tip school officials ignored in September 2016.

Bjerknes was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison in February 2018.

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