Weather Forecast


Jamestown teacher jailed after student alleges sexual assault

JAMESTOWN, N.D. - A 54-year-old Jamestown Public Schools instructor was arrested Tuesday after a female juvenile student accused him of sexually assaulting her, police say.

The incident was alleged to have happened between Monday and Tuesday, according to the Jamestown Police Department. She also claimed she received sexually explicit text messages and phone calls.

The student reported the allegations Tuesday morning, and the teacher is in custody pending charges from the Stutsman County State's Attorney's Office.

Police would not release the name of the man arrested. The booking sheet, a public document from the Stutsman County Correctional Center, showed that Richard Laqua, 54, of Jamestown, was arrested at 12:34 p.m. Tuesday.

Laqua is a construction technology instructor at the James Valley Career and Technology Center.

Jail officials in Stutsman County refused to release a mug shot of Laqua on Tuesday night when contacted by a reporter.

Jamestown Public School Superintendent Bob Toso said he learned of the allegations just before noon Tuesday.

He wouldn't release the name of the instructor or what subject he taught. He did say, however, that he's a "longtime employee" with the district.

The teacher will be removed from the classroom but will receive pay until the investigation is complete, Toso said.

Toso said Tuesday was a "sad day" and that in his 30 years as an administrator, he's never dealt with allegations like this.

"Things like this just don't happen in North Dakota," he said.

Toso said the alleged victim was not a student of the teacher and he is unsure how the instructor obtained her phone number.

The district does not have a policy regarding electronic communication between staff and students, Toso said.

Stutsman County Assistant State's Attorney Troy LeFevre said a judge will review the case this morning.

"We'll be reviewing the information and determine if there's enough information for probable cause or not, and from there determine if there's a charge or not," LeFevre said.

Also Tuesday, the Jamestown Police Department stopped a vehicle around 8:15 a.m. that was headed for the high school.

Toso said the alleged victim's parent was driving the vehicle.

Sgt. John Johnson wouldn't comment regarding the incident except to say police stopped the vehicle "before some idiot did something stupid."