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Cambridge school principal charged with stalking ex-girlfriend, fleeing officer


The principal at a central Minnesota school was arrested early Sunday and is now facing charges over an unwelcome visit police say he paid to an ex-girlfriend.

47-year-old Chris Grote, principal of Cambridge Primary School in Isanti County, has been charged with disorderly conduct, public nuisance, stalking and fleeing a police officer in relation to the weekend incident, reports Fox 9.

The Isanti County jail roster says Grote was taken into custody about 3:49 a.m. Sunday. According to the charges, FOX says, he ran into the ex-girlfriend the night before while drinking at a firefighter's benefit.

KSTP reports the criminal complaint says Grote drove to the woman's home after the benefit and began calling her repeatedly, prompting her to call the police. Grote fled the scene when sheriff's deputies arrived, but they later found him in nearby woods and arrested him, the station says.

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District Superintendent Ray Queener released a statement after the arrest, saying, "We are aware of the situation and we are continuing to work through it at this time." He also emphasized that the incident didn't take place on school grounds and that it didn't involve any students.

Queener held a news conference Monday, where he said the district's intermediate school principal will fill in while the investigation continues.

School officials couldn't comment on the allegations or the principal's employment status, but did say the district will be conducting its own investigation while keeping the focus at the school on teaching and learning.

"There are a lot of holes in the story we just don't know," Queener said, according to KARE 11. "It's challenging."

Queener said counselors are available for students and staff who wish to speak with someone.

Grote is in his eighth year as principal of the school. He began working with the school district as a student teacher 22 years ago, the Cambridge Primary School's website says.

Several parents say they learned of the principal's arrest online, according to KSTP.

"I have lots and lots of questions, like who it was with, what exactly took place and why he evaded police," Chris Giampolo, whose son goes to school at Cambridge Primary, told the station.

Grote is expected to appear in court at 11 a.m. Tuesday, the Isanti County News reports.

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