WILLISTON, N.D. – A Williston girls’ basketball coach is on administrative leave after prosecutors charged him this week with misdemeanor sexual assault.
Walter Paul Eldridge, 33, was arrested Tuesday morning for allegedly having inappropriate sexual contact with an 18-year-old female, said Williston Police Sgt. Detective Amy Nickoloff.
Court records charging Eldridge with a Class B misdemeanor accuse him of inappropriately touching a female when Eldridge had “reasonable cause to believe that the contact was offensive” to the woman. The incident occurred in December in Williston, records say.
Police say the case is open for further investigation.
Williston Superintendent Viola LaFontaine said Eldridge, who is also a high school English teacher, was placed on administrative leave with pay while school officials conduct their own investigation and consult with the school’s legal counsel.
Police and LaFontaine declined to comment on whether the 18-year-old is a student or where the incident occurred.
Bond was set Wednesday at $1,500. A judge ordered Eldridge to have no contact with any Williston High School students. His next court appearance is scheduled for Friday.
Defense attorney Jeff Nehring didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Williston High School named Eldridge varsity girls basketball coach in May 2014, according to the Williston Herald.