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North Dakota's Teacher of the Year faces felony charges

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news Grand Forks,

Grand Forks ND 2220 South Washington

The reigning Teacher of the Year in North Dakota is facing five felonies involving a student from West Fargo.

Aaron Knodel is charged with felony corruption or solicitation of minors.


The alleged victim says she had a sexual relationship with Knodel during the 2008-2009 school year, when she was 17 and in his English class.

Two of the encounters, she claims, happened on school property in a classroom.

She provided the North Dakota BCI with a copy of a "Twilight" book that allegedly contains notes from Knodel referencing their relationship.  A handwriting analyst believes it is his writing.

News of the charges came as shock to many in the community, as Knodel was a well-respected teacher who was admired by his students.

Knodel has been on paid leave since February.