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Diocesan, Dickinson Trinity officials review note left by student after fire

DICKINSON, N.D. - The note a Trinity High School student left behind at the law enforcement center allegedly confessing to starting the fire at the high school in March has become one of the most talked-about pieces of evidence in the arson case against former Principal Thomas Sander.

The Dickinson Catholic Schools board of directors, along with diocesan officials and attorneys, has received a copy of the note and will be assessing it, according to a message posted Thursday on the St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church’s Facebook page.

The post by Monsignor Patrick Schumacher calls the note “startling.”

Schumacher, the school’s vice president, said in an interview that the team is “proceeding in due diligence” with the information, but could not comment on what diocesan and DCS officials expect to come of their assessment.

Schumacher said that when he first read the note June 5 during his deposition with Sander’s defense team, lawyers Jackson Lofgren and Lloyd Suhr, “the hair on the back of my neck stood up.”

“That hasn’t happened to me in a long time,” he said.

He did not share what the note said.

He said Dickinson Catholic Schools will send out a letter about developments with the legal process and the school’s renovations in the next couple of weeks. Repairs have cost $17 million “and climbing” already, he said, pushing claims toward Catholic Mutual Insurance’s $20 million total.

After months of structural engineer reports, Schumacher said it has been determined that the school’s main office will have to be razed.

“It’s obviously becoming worse and worse,” he said. “This will not be easy to do. It’s going to be a very delicate demolition.”

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