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Former Bemidji teacher accused of sex with student pleads guilty

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BEMIDJI, Minn. -- A former Voyageurs Expeditionary School teacher accused of having sex with a student pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

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Paul Joseph Johnson, 48, of Backus, was charged in January in Beltrami County Court after accusations of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old female student.

Johnson taught math at the Bemidji school for five years. He was placed on unpaid leave and terminated from his job.

The student informed law enforcement that she and Johnson had engaged in a romantic, sexual relationship from October to December. Court documents said the student and Johnson engaged in sexual intercourse at least three times.

Third-degree criminal sexual conduct carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 3.

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