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Former principal in Warren, Minn., accused of assault

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news Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Stephen J. Lee | Forum News Service

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The former principal and athletic director at Warren-Alvarado-Oslo High School in Warren, Minn., appeared in court this week on four felony counts of criminal sexual conduct in Morris, Minn.

In court Monday, Craig Jon Peterson, 36, deferred entering a plea to the charges and was scheduled for an omnibus hearing Feb. 5 in state district court in Morris, said a Stevens County official.

Peterson worked five years in the Warren school northeast of Grand Forks before starting in August as principal and activities director in Morris. He formerly served on the city council in Newfolden, Minn.

Peterson was placed on paid leave last week by school officials, pending the charges, according to the Morris Sun Tribune.

According to the complaint, a 30-year-old female friend of Peterson’s told police she was drinking with him at a bar Dec. 21 in Morris, then went to his home to play pool and table hockey.

She said she had gotten “tipsy” at the bar and later blacked out or passed out and woke up with Peterson on top of her in his bed. She said she asked him to stop but he didn’t. He later drove her back to the bar shortly after midnight.

She went to the local hospital later that morning and reported she had been sexually assaulted.

Peterson told police the sexual activity was consensual and said the woman had not asked him to stop, according to the Morris paper’s account of the complaint.

He was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, all felonies.

According to state court records, Peterson posted bond of $25,000 after his initial court appearance Dec. 26. As part of his bond, he was ordered by a judge to not leave the state without written permission from the court, stay out of bars, not use alcohol or drugs and have no contact with his accuser, pending a resolution of his case.

He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota-Morris and a master’s degree from UND, according to the Morris school district.

Before working in the Warren school, he taught social studies at Marshall County Central High School in Newfolden, Minn., then worked as an administrator at New Rockford-Sheyenne (N.D.) high school in 2006.

Peterson was elected to the Newfolden City Council in 2004.

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