Grand jury indicts Dunseith teacher for child abuse

Rhawnie Marcellais, 41, Belcourt, was indicted on March 2 by a federal grand jury on charges alleging she assaulted a child and retaliated against a witness providing information to investigators.

According to federal court records, the grand jury levied two charges of child abuse against Marcellais, accusing her of inflicting mental and bodily injury upon the child going since 2018, including one incident where she allegedly threw a glass bottle at the child.

The Dunseith Public School website lists Marcellais as a middle school English teacher, but court documents do not indicate that the alleged incidents occurred on school property or involved any students. DPS Superintendent David Sjol has released a statement regarding the indictments, announcing that Marcellais has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the district, and inviting anyone with concerns or information to contact the school administration.

The other charges include two counts of retaliating against a witness for allegedly threatening an individual for providing information to investigators, one count of assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly assaulting the witness with shod feet/shoes, and malicious mischief for damaging the witness’s vehicle.

Marcellais’s case is set for a four-day trial in U.S. District Court in Fargo beginning May 9.


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