MN trial canceled for ex-teacher accused of sex with student
CROOKSTON--A former Grand Forks high school teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a student will not be going to a jury trial in Minnesota, court records show, mirroring a move to a plea deal in North Dakota on related charges last week.
James Patrick Whalen, 42, faces one charge of third degree criminal sexual conduct as a person of authority, a felony, in Polk County District Court.
He had been scheduled to go to trial before a Polk County jury Jan. 17, but the trial was canceled Friday, court records show. The case is listed as settled; it is not immediately clear what the terms of the settlement are. His next Minnesota court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 26.
A former Grand Forks Central High School teacher, Whalen was charged with four felonies in North Dakota for a related case. He was scheduled to go to a jury trial in Grand Forks Jan. 24, but reached an agreement with prosecutors last week. A change of plea hearing will be held Jan. 23. In North Dakota, Whalen faces three counts of corruption of a minor and one count of sexual assault, all Class C felonies. It is unknown which charges Whalen will plead guilty to at the Jan. 23 hearing, or if any of the charges will be reduced or dismissed.
Whalen’s attorney Robert Hoy did not disclose the nature of the plea deal reached in North Dakota when reached by the Herald last week. He said he believed the charges in Minnesota against Whalen would ultimately be dismissed.