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Stephen J. Lee, Forum News Service, Published April 08 2013

Former ND teacher pleads not guilty to more luring charges

GRAND FORKS - The former teacher and coach who worked in Edmore, N.D., and this school year in the Grand Forks School District pleaded not guilty Monday to additional charges he tried to sexually lure girls using the Internet.

Jeremy Thompson initially was charged in January with two felony luring charges involving a 12-year-old girl he had met in Edmore when she was 10, according to police investigators.

Last month, he was charged with nine more counts, including six felonies, alleging he tried to lure eight other girls, at least some of them from Grand Forks.

From statements made in court Monday, it appears Thompson, facing eight felony counts — including four Class B counts with maximum sentences each of 10 years in prison — is hoping to reach a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Thompson, 28, now faces a total of eight felony counts of luring a minor by computer, as well as three misdemeanor counts of deprivation of a minor, alleging similar solicitations using email and Facebook accounts.

He was fired in January from his job as a para-educator and coach in the Grand Forks district after his arrest. He’s been the Grand Forks County jail since.

Police obtained search warrants from Microsoft Corp. and well as Facebook’s parent company to search several internet accounts Thompson told them about, including three he used involving phony names. A prosecutor Monday said all of the forensic investigative material from the search of Thompson’s electronic equipment and Internet accounts is not complete.

Attorneys from both sides said they will move to have all 11 charges consolidated and state District Judge Debbie Kleven set a pre-trial conference for all charges for May 30. Adam Fleischman, Thompson’s attorney, told Kleven “something might be resolved by then,” referring to a possible plea deal.