School Board Member Under Investigation

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San Marino Unified School District Board of Education member Chris Norgaard is the subject of a battery investigation by the San Marino Police Department and sexual harassment investigation by the school district, according to official statements to multiple media outlets.
In a Monday news release sent to television stations, daily newspapers and weekly publications, SMPD said it started a criminal investigation for battery on Friday, Jan. 19, after officials with the school district reported to the department that they were conducting their own investigation into a Board of Education member.
The police department’s news release also was posted on the City of San Marino website. In a statement sent to news media, the school district identified Norgaard as the subject of its internal investigation into alleged improper conduct.
Norgaard denied the allegations when reached by phone Tuesday.
“I do not know what this is about, period, and I certainly deny, of course, that I have done anything illegal or improper,” Norgaard said. “I have not been contacted at all by the police department and I don’t know what these allegations are about. I have not been interviewed, asked any questions or presented with allegations.”
Police Chief John Incontro, reached by phone, said investigations that do not begin with catching a potential suspect in the act generally begin by speaking with victims or witnesses.
“In the course of these investigations, we like to speak with victims, witnesses or other parties who can add information to the investigation,” Incontro said. “Then, we can speak to a person of interest after that time.”
According to its statement, the school district has retained an outside investigative firm and also legal counsel to handle the matter after receiving allegations of improper conduct by Norgaard, who has been a member of the school board since 2003.
“The District takes allegations of sexual harassment extremely seriously and is committed to providing a safe and respectful work environment for its employees,” the statement read. “The District has followed its practice of separating the accused from the complainant(s) pending the investigation so as not to compromise the integrity of the investigation.”
According to the school district’s Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Linda de la Torre, the protocol for such investigations is to not allow the person on campus without prior approval while the investigation is being conducted. Norgaard attended the most recent school board meeting on Jan. 23.
In its release, the police department asked for information: “If you or someone you know has information that could be related to this investigation, please contact Detective Sgt. Tebbetts of the San Marino Police Department at (626) 300-0722.”
To provide information anonymously call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-8477 or by texting the letters TIPLA plus the tip to “crimes” (274637).

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