Christopher Jerome Endicott described himself in court Monday as a narcissist who subconsciously took pleasure in his crimes.
The former Lakeville middle school principal read a 20-minute long statement before being sentenced by Dakota County District Court Judge Tim Wermager to 8½ years in prison for identity theft, stalking and burglary.
Endicott apologized to his 18 victims, including former colleagues, neighbors and in-laws; a teacher whom he had an affair with in 2011, and an Apple Valley police officer.
“I don’t pretend that what I did will ever make sense, even to me,” he said.
In April, Endicott, 51, of Apple Valley, pleaded guilty to two counts each of gross misdemeanor stalking and felony burglary in connection with a rash of crimes that he blamed on “financial ruin.” In February, Endicott pleaded guilty to felony identity theft.
In addition to sentencing Endicott to 102 months prison, Wermager also ordered him to pay nearly $20,000 in restitution to some of his victims.
“This is not your typical grab your wallet or purse and get the credit card and commit an offense,” Wermager said. “This involved using technology to really invade the private lives of the individuals that Mr. Endicott either worked with or his family members.”
The Dakota County attorney’s office sought an aggravated upward departure, which would have added up to 13 years and six months in prison.
Meanwhile, Endicott’s attorney, Bruce Rivers, asked for probation, based upon Endicott’s ongoing therapy and “amenability to probation.”
As part of the plea agreement with prosecutors, one count each of gross misdemeanor theft and felony financial transaction card fraud were dismissed at Monday’s sentencing. The two stalking charges were also reduced from felony level.
Before joining Century Middle School in Lakeville as its principal in 2012, Endicott was the assistant principal at Dakota Hills Middle School in Eagan, which is in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan district. He resigned in May 2018.
Before Monday’s convictions, Endicott had not had a criminal record in Minnesota, other than a speeding conviction in Dakota County in 2011, court records show.
‘TRAUMATIZED THE STAFF’
Lakeville Area Schools’ Superintendent Michael Baumann was one of five people who addressed the court during Monday’s sentencing hearing. He read a statement on behalf of Century Middle School staff, the “community and the families we serve.”
“I can state unequivocally that Chris Endicott traumatized the staff, community and families of Century Middle School,” he said. “Unfortunately, he continues to do so to this very day.”
Baumann, who urged Wermager to give Endicott the maximum sentence possible, described the former educator as “extremely skilled in the use of technology” who “inserted himself in the configuration and administration” of the school’s technology systems. Endicott went into employee offices, desks and purses to gain access to personal information “necessary to steal the identities of many innocent victims,” Baumann said.
“As a result, they will continue to fear the ramifications of his actions today, tomorrow and for years to come,” he said.
The allegations against Endicott surfaced in January 2018 after Apple Valley police said someone from his home accessed a phone and an iPad that belong to the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan school district, where his now ex-wife worked as a counselor and teacher.
Endicott later would be accused of stealing personal and financial information from employees of the school district, their family members and others.
Search warrants were executed at Endicott’s work and Apple Valley home, and computers and other electronic equipment were seized. Analysis of the electronics revealed significant personal and financial information about school employees and others, the charges say.
Investigators discovered Endicott made purchases using their credit cards and wrote about accessing several accounts. In one writing, Endicott indicated that he was in “financial ruin,” according to charges.
While under investigation in January 2018, Endicott was charged with gross misdemeanor stalking after he allegedly drove near an Apple Valley police detective’s home twice and to the police station three times in one day.
NEIGHBORS ALSO TARGETED
In March 2018, Endicott was accused of burglary for breaking into his next-door neighbors’ home in Apple Valley in 2015 while they were away, prying open a safe and stealing two rings. The rings were found in Endicott’s file cabinet at Century Middle School in February 2018 and traced back to the neighbors.
Also in March 2018, he was charged with second-degree burglary and theft for allegedly stealing sports cards in late 2017 from someone who rented his house. An employee of a sports memorabilia store put a value of $738 on the stolen cards, charges said.
In June 2018, burglary charges were filed in North Dakota accusing him of stealing $16,500 worth of rare coins from his then in-laws two years prior.
‘INVADED MY PRIVACY’
Endicott said Monday he hoped his statement would “add some insight” to his crimes.
He said his “financial crisis” was “his own creation” and were the result of living a lifestyle that he could not afford. He said he hid a large amount of debt from his now ex-wife.
“This was the start of my warped and disturbing efforts at problem-solving, which in turn triggered my anxiety,” he said. “Subconsciously, I have now come to understand there were some mental health issues — namely anxiety and narcissism that played into but do excuse my actions at the time.”
Dakota County prosecutor Torrie Schneider discredited Endicott’s claim that his motivations were financial, telling the court, “He paints himself as the victim.”
A middle school teacher recalled for the court Monday how an Apple Valley detective called her in January 2018 to tell her that Endicott, her boss, had her checkbook. She said she soon learned he also had information from her bank accounts going back to college; her user names and passwords; credit cards he opened up in her name; and even her Sam’s Club membership number.
“He completely invaded my privacy,” she said. “I’ll never know why.”