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Proctor police wrap up investigation into football players

The police department plans to send its reports on what authorities have referred to as "student misconduct" early this week.

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The logo for the Proctor athletic teams hangs on a building containing the concession stands and entrance gates seen during homecoming activities at Terry Egerdahl Field in Proctor on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021. Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
CLINT AUSTIN

After several weeks of investigation, the Proctor Police Department is preparing to send its reports on what authorities have referred to as "student misconduct" on the school's football team to the juvenile county attorney.

"Reports were worked on over the weekend and (we) are planning on sending this to the juvenile county attorney early this week," Proctor Chief Kent Gaidis said in an emailed response Monday evening.

The St. Louis County Attorney's Office will determine if charges are to be filed.

Authorities have yet to comment on the nature of the allegations, citing privacy issues. It has been nearly a month since the investigation began.

Football activities for Proctor players in grades 9-12 were canceled in September.

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Gaidis told the News Tribune last week the incident was reported to the police department Sept. 16 at 2:05 p.m. In an interview with Fox 21, head coach Derek Parendo claimed the incident happened on Sept. 8 while he was at a girls soccer game in Cloquet watching his daughter play.

Parendo is currently on a paid “personal leave of absence,” Superintendent John Engelking said, until the end of the 2021-22 school year when his resignation will take effect.

Engelking confirmed the investigation in an email to news outlets Sept. 22 and said the district is cooperating with police.

A week after the news emerged that the team was under investigation, the school district announced the rest of the program's 2021 games are canceled. In an email to parents sent Sept. 29, the district said the “alleged serious misconduct” led to the decision to end the season.

“In order to enable us to do our due diligence and to give us the opportunity to properly investigate the allegations, we have made the decision to end our 9-12 (sic) grade football team activities for the season,” the email said. “Please know that this decision was not made hastily, and it was made with consultation with the Proctor Police Department, the Minnesota State High School League, the Proctor Public Schools Crisis Team and legal counsel.”

In the email, the district promised repercussions against any “substantiated” allegations.

“We will take action against substantiated misconduct and we will address any and all problems in the football program,” the email said. “We are absolutely confident that when the program resumes next season, we will be RailStrong by representing our families, school, and community in a positive way both on and off the field and by doing the right thing at all times.”

This story was updated at 6:52 p.m. Oct. 18 with additional background information. It was originally posted at 6:18 p.m. Oct. 18.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTSPROCTOR
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