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Social workers with ties to Grand Forks, UND on agenda for state board meeting

One is Jacqueline Hoffarth, a member of the Grand Forks School Board.

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Two social workers with ties to Grand Forks – one of whom is a member of the Grand Forks School Board – are scheduled to go before the North Dakota Board of Social Work Examiners next week.

Andrew Quinn and Jacqueline Hoffarth are on the agenda for the Board of Social Work Examiners’ meeting Tuesday in Bismarck. Both are listed within the agenda section of “complaints.”

Hoffarth was elected to the Grand Forks School Board in 2018. She previously was an assistant professor of social work at UND. According to the university, Hoffarth has not worked there since November. Hoffarth is still a member of the School Board, board President Bill Palmiscno said Friday.

Quinn also previously worked for UND.

Friday, the Herald made an open-records request to the Board of Social Work Examiners for paperwork related to both cases. The board responded with a collection of documents related to Quinn, but said it would provide no documents about Hoffarth, citing North Dakota Century Code 43-41-10, a section in state law that outlines “grounds for disciplinary proceedings” for social workers.

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The lengthy section in North Dakota code states the board “may deny, refuse to renew, suspend, revoke, reprimand, restrict or limit the license of, or place on probationary status license issued” for various reasons.

Along with being scheduled in the section titled “complaints,” Hoffarth is listed under the agenda section of “application for renewal of license.”

The Herald attempted to reach Hoffarth Friday, but three telephone calls to what is assumed to be her personal phone went unanswered and there was no message service available.

Quinn’s file shows he has previously dealt with the Board of Social Work Examiners. In 2019, the board offered a settlement agreement that declared Quinn’s license to practice social work in North Dakota be suspended for no less than three years, contingent upon Quinn completing 10 continuing education hours focusing on “ethics and professional boundaries.” The agreement also discussed identifying “dual relationships with any current or former clients, students or supervisees.”

Included in the documents obtained by the Herald is a letter to the board from lawyer Leo Wilking, on Quinn’s behalf. Dated June 12, 2019, the letter says “it is our opinion that the NDBSWE cannot prove any of the alleged Code of Ethics violations you have cited and we are of the firm belief that revocation of his license as part of a disciplinary process is too harsh a penalty.”

In the letter, Wilking also addresses a relationship between Quinn and a woman, claiming “there was no ‘sexual relationship’ until well after Dr. Quinn had been placed on administrative leave in January 2019 and was not in any teaching or advisory relationship with any student.” Also in the packet of documents provided by the board are notes outlining an alleged relationship between Quinn and a student in 2016.

Reached at his office Friday, Wilking said he still represents Quinn, but he would not give details about Quinn’s Tuesday date with the Board of Social Work Examiners. Wilking said Quinn will be doing “something with the board, but I’m not exactly sure.” Wilking also said he is not at liberty to discuss it further.

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