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Superintendent says Rude’s lawsuit to be filed in court

Published 7:24am Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A civil lawsuit that Austin school board member Curt Rude served to Austin Public Schools and former superintendent Candace Raskin last month will be filed in Mower County Court.

Rude and APS were not able to come to an out-of-court agreement, superintendent David Krenz said.

Rude sued the district and Raskin in November, alleging defamation, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, vicarious liability, negligent supervision and negligent retention.

Rude seeks damages in excess of $50,000 with this suit, which is the minimum required to be attached to a civil lawsuit.

Austin Public Schools and Raskin served a response Nov. 24 denying each count.

Krenz said because Rude’s attorneys did not drop their suit by Tuesday, the district would follow formalities of filing it in court.

Meanwhile, Rude continues to sit on the Austin school board, though he has not attended meetings since the suit was filed.

“Curt Rude is within his legal right to remain on Austin school board following Monday’s sentencing,” Krenz said.

The on-leave captain of the Austin Police Department, who was found guilty of felony drug possession by a jury in November, will not serve jail time and will not have the felony on his record if he complies with his probation.

Rude will serve five years probation and perform 200 hours of community service, though he could come away with a clean record, an Olmsted County judge ruled Monday.

If the felony were to remain on his record, Rude would have been forced off of the school board.

“If a board member is convicted of a felony, we believe he/she cannot continue to serve. On the other hand, if the felony charge is dropped or the board member is not found guilty, he/she could continue to serve,” wrote Deputy Executive Director of the Minnesota School Boards Association John Sylvester in an e-mail.

Sylvester cited Article VII, Section 6 of the Minnesota Constitution which dictates that school board members must remain eligible voters. Article VII, Section 1 of the constitution states that anyone who has been convicted of a felony may not vote unless he/she is restored to civil rights.

Charges were originally filed against Rude in November 2007 after he took two bottles of the prescription painkiller OxyContin prescribed to Mark Johnson from the APD’s evidence room.

Johnson, a close friend of Rude’s and a former KAAL-TV reporter, died of an OxyContin overdose earlier that year.

It is unlikely that Rude, who has been working as a truck driver, will ever be able to work with the Austin Police Department or another police force again.

Rude has been on leave from the APD since being charged.

The APD is waiting for the Minnesota Peace Officers Standards and Training Board — the body that regulates police licensing in the state — to proceed with that decision.

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