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Woman ordered to stay away from former Superior choir teacher

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Woman ordered to stay away from former Superior choir teacher
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

A former music teacher whose career with the School District of Superior ended in part because of accusations of improper conduct with a female student was recently granted a restraining order against the student.

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Dana Tolene, 21, was ordered to have no contact with her former choir teacher, Brian G. MacDonell. The injunction, signed by Douglas County Court Commissioner Paul Baxter, remains in effect for four years.

MacDonell sought the restraining order a week after Tolene poured a glass of milk on him while he was celebrating a friend's birthday at Grizzly's in Superior.

In his letter to the court filed March 4, MacDonell accused Tolene of victimizing, harassing and threatening him for three years, ever since she made what he called false allegations of misconduct against him to the Superior Police Department.

"In this situation, I was never charged with a crime and I have denied any and all accusations from the beginning," MacDonell wrote. Details of accusations against MacDonell that Tolene made to police appeared in the Daily Telegram. After the story was published, MacDonell's sister, Jennifer Sawyer, came forward with allegations that he sexually abused her when they were children.

MacDonell also accused Tolene of monitoring the Department of Public Instruction Web site to check on the status of his teaching license and making false statements to the Telegram after his license was denied in September 2008.

"I am trying to put this behind me as I feel that I am the victim here and not her," the former choir teacher wrote.

In a letter filed May 11, Tolene wrote that she has not harassed her former teacher and was not responsible for him being fired.

According to a July 12, 2006, letter from Superintendent Jay Mitchell terminating MacDonell's contract, Tolene's allegations are one of four reasons given for terminating his contract.

"I am not persecuting Mr. MacDonell," Tolene wrote, although she did admit to pouring milk on MacDonell at Grizzly's last month.

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