A former Pequot Lakes High School math teacher was sentenced on June 28 in Crow Wing County District Court for stealing money from the teacher’s union.
Larry Lightner had pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft, with five other counts dismissed as Judge Kristine DeMay sentenced Lightner under the following conditions:
• Lightner will be on supervised probation for five years and pay restitution of $20,928.09 along with a $75 criminal traffic surcharge and $10 library fee for a total of $21,013.09. In addition, he must serve 45 days in the Crow Wing County Jail beginning July 11 and will be eligible for work release and sentence to serve.
• Lightner must remain law-abiding and of good behavior with no similar offense of drug or alcohol abuse. He may not enter bars, liquor stores or other establishments that serve alcoholic beverages and will be subject to random testing. Lightner also may not be in the presence of drugs and may not possess firearms.
• He may have no contact with Pequot Lakes School buildings unless by phone or correspondence and may not hold a position allowing access to control of finances.
Lightner was charged last August with six counts of felony theft by check for stealing $34,000 from the teachers’ union, Education Minnesota Pequot Lakes. He had been writing checks to himself and cashing them since 2005 as co-treasurer of the teachers’ union.
According to court documents, Lightner said he took the money because he was living beyond his means and wanted to do more than his income would allow.
Lightner was a Pequot Lakes math teacher for 12 years and was Teacher of the Year in 2007. Students chose him to speak at their graduation ceremony in 2010.