Ten Hennepin County District Court employees have been suspended while officials conduct an internal investigation into alleged but unspecified wrongdoing.

Courts Administrator Mark Thompson said that the 10 employees were placed on paid administrative leave Thursday and that the investigation will be completed by late Monday.

"At that time, we'll take action if needed," he said. Asked if that might include criminal charges, he said, "Anything is possible."

Thompson declined to say who was conducting the inquiry, but that it had been going on for "several weeks."

"We've never to my knowledge had this many employees placed on administrative leave," he said.

An internal investigation likely would determine whether there were sufficient grounds for firing. Officials would not say if outside agencies also are investigating.

The employees on leave work in administration, civil and juvenile systems. Thompson oversees about 700 employees.

Hennepin County in the last year has dealt with unrelated episodes involving allegations of criminal wrongdoing by county employees at the jail.

In July, one of the jail's building operations managers was fired for claiming on her payroll timesheets more than 500 hours that she allegedly did not work. The manager, Angela Bennett-Dwanyen, 47, of Maple Grove, has been charged with swindling the county out of more than $16,000, a felony.

Last November, a county jail nurse pleaded guilty to stealing drugs that had been prescribed for treating inmates. Sarah DeSpiegelaere lost her job and so did her husband, Hennepin County Sheriff's Deputy Steve DeSpiegelaere, who was arrested in the case but not charged.

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