PEQUOT LAKES — It was learned Thursday the former Pequot Lakes School District business manager, Rick Skogen, who handed in his resignation on Nov. 8, 2010, did so after being asked about using his computer inappropriately.
“When I brought him (Skogen) into my office to talk about the inappropriate use of the computer, he offered me his resignation,” Pequot Lakes Superintendent Rick Linnell said when asked about allegations that Skogen was using his computer to look at pornography.
“It was inappropriate use of a computer but it was not classified as child pornography ... I gave the information to law enforcement and that’s where it was not classified as child pornography.”
Linnell declined to elaborate on what the inappropriate use of the computer was.
In a telephone interview, Skogen said he resigned as the business manager because “I’m an alcoholic.” When Skogen was first asked about what the inappropriate use of the computer was, he would not comment. In a later interview, Skogen said he was looking at sports and news websites, when he should have been working.
When Skogen was asked if he allegedly was looking at pictures of young girls on the computer, he said that was incorrect.
Skogen said after he resigned, he checked himself into Hazelden, an addiction treatment center in Center City. Skogen said he has been sober for a year, has been able to get his life back and he wants to move on.
Pequot Lakes police officer Rich Hogan said the school district did report to police that Skogen was allegedly using his computer inappropriately.
Hogan determined no criminal charges were necessary because the websites Skogen allegedly looked at didn’t contain child nudity. One website did include young girls, but they were wearing swimsuits, running shorts and sports bras, Hogan said.
Hogan said Skogen allegedly was looking at inappropriate sites with naked women, which violated school policy.
Questions surrounding Skogen’s resignation were brought up Thursday after information was presented to the media that a former Pequot Lakes School District employee resigned after allegedly being caught looking at pornography on the computer at the school. An unidentified source confirmed that the employee was a business manager.
Dan O’Reilly, formerly the district’s full-time information technology director, said Thursday he was suddenly fired Feb. 16. He declined to identify the employee who was allegedly looking at pornography on a computer.
O’Reilly said he was asked by the superintendent in 2010 to look at an employee’s computer regarding inappropriate use. O’Reilly allegedly found that the employee was looking at websites of 9- and 10-year-old girls, who were clothed. O’Reilly said the website was looked at in a “sexually seductive” manner and the former employee had zoomed in on the “crotch” of the girls who were viewed.
O’Reilly said he reported his findings to Linnell. O’Reilly said that Linnell contacted law enforcement and the superintendent allegedly told him “That they (law enforcement) were not interested.”
O’Reilly said when he was terminated, he felt like he was being treated as a criminal. He said he wasn’t allowed to touch his computer or grab his personal items. In an email O’Reilly wrote to all the school board members, he wondered how a person allegedly looking at pictures of young girls was allowed to gracefully resign while he was escorted out “practically in handcuffs.”
When asked about why he was telling the story now about the employee allegedly misusing the computer, O’Reilly said “It’s bothered me ever since it happened and I’ve always questioned the statements I heard ... I trusted they’d handle it.”
O’Reilly said he was fired because he left the school building to drop his children off at Ski Gull.
Linnell said, “I don’t think it’s appropriate to comment on Dan O’Reilly’s situation until the school board has officially acted on this issue.”
NANCY VOGT may be reached at email@example.com. or 855-5877.