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Bismarck man sentenced in defamation case involving teacher

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A Bismarck man facing a criminal charge for allegedly creating and sending fake texts that caused his ex-girlfriend to be suspended from her teaching job has been placed on probation for a year.

Jacob Thompson, who is in his mid-30s, in pleading guilty to disorderly conduct admits to “harassing conduct” that was intended to “adversely affect the safety, security or privacy of another person,” according to a plea agreement dated Aug. 3. South Central District Judge Bonnie Storbakken ordered Thompson to pay $285 in court fees. She suspended a 30-day jail term and ordered Thompson not to have any contact with the woman.

Thompson in the spring and summer of 2019 allegedly put together a series of false texts containing racist and sexually explicit comments that he said came from Nicole Gabel. Some of them were distributed on social media, according to police. The texts included multiple racial epithets against Black and Native American students, insulting language toward a Bismarck Public Schools official and language implying Gabel performed sexual acts at school.

Gabel was placed on paid administrative leave from Dorothy Moses Elementary in Bismarck on Aug. 14, 2019, after parents complained to Bismarck Public Schools about the text messages. She was taken off administrative leave about a month later after an internal investigation by the school district found no evidence that she sent the alleged texts. Gabel was assigned to a different school and given a new schedule and duties.

Thompson initially was charged with defamation, a crime punishable by up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine. Disorderly conduct carries a possible 30-day jail term and $1,500 fine.

Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com

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