WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 11, 2014, 06:34 PM

Moorhead High responds to reports of student sex assault

Fargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) -Moorhead school officials are speaking out about sexual assaults in the high school that took months to go public or reported to police.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Fargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) - Moorhead school officials are speaking out about sexual assaults in the high school that took months to go public or reported to police.

School officials say they found out in late January and "took immediate action,” but also took a week to notify authorities.

Police say multiple sexual assault incidents happened right here inside of Moorhead High School, spanning several months.

They say Sulejman Sulemani is now considered a fugitive, and was groping younger female students, forcing them to perform sexual favors while they struggled to get away from him.

Moorhead police found out about the incidents when school officials notified the department on Jan. 28, a full week after the first victim came forward.

Lynne Kovash, Moorhead Public Schools superintendent: "When something is reported to the principal, or to a teacher, the teacher would take it to the principal. Then we usually have a parent conference, we usually will look at disciplinary action, usually a suspension, and then we report to the authorities."

Lt. Chris Carey, Moorhead Police: "The investigation found that there were other victims and it had been happening for longer than what the first original victim was reporting."

Court documents say Sulejmani sexually assaulted three female victims several times between September and January right inside the high school. A place students are supposed to feel safe.

Carey: "Anything can happen anywhere. We see that in today's world where things unfold in places that you never dreamed they would."

Kovash: "There's where the message has to get out that you have to report. Report to your parents, report to someone. You have to report it."

Police say Sulejmani stopped the victims in the stairwells or hallways away from staff and school security cameras.

Carey: “This was a gentleman who was taking advantage of those times when nobody was around.”

Documents say he groped them and asked them to perform sex acts on him. When the victims refused, he restrained them and sometimes forced their hands down his pants.

During one incident, his pants were down and he wasn't wearing underwear.

Carey: “His conduct totally inappropriate and sexually driven. And he has to be held responsible for his behavior.”

Documents say when officers questioned Sulejmani about his actions, he admitted them, telling police he "loses control because he is still a virgin".

Prosecutors charged Sulemani on Friday with 12 counts including criminal sexual conduct, false imprisonment, and soliciting minors for sex.

Police say he's considered a fugitive, and even his family says he's gone.