Bemidji School District named in 3 sex abuse suits

BEMIDJI, Minn. (AP) — The Bemidji School District is being sued over alleged sexual abuse of three elementary students by a former teacher.

Attorney Jeff Anderson of St. Paul says three lawsuits against the district were filed Wednesday in Beltrami County.

The three girls allege former physical education teacher John Wangberg sexually abused them in his gym office.

Wangberg was accused of molesting young children on school property. He was charged last January with sexual conduct but was later found dead in his home.

The lawsuits allege the school district was negligent in allowing Wangberg unsupervised access to students — even after the district was warned about his conduct.

Wangberg taught at Central Elementary School for 30 years before resigning in March 2011.

Bemidji Schools Superintendent James Hess says the district denies any liability.

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