Minnesota high school football coach being investigated after complaint

Johnny Benson is the grandson of legendary football coach John Gagliardi.

A Minnesota high school football coach has been suspended by his school pending an investigation into an alleged sexual assault.

Kimball High School head football coach Johnny Benson has been placed on administrative leave from coaching and teaching duties while the investigation is ongoing. 

Details of the investigation are limited, but the Stearns County  Sheriff's Office confirmed to Bring Me The News that it is investigating a "Matter of Information," but because the investigation is active no further details could be provided. 

The investigation began when an officer with Kimball Police Department was sent to St. Cloud Hospital just before 1 a.m. on Oct. 10. There, the officer met with an individual and that person's family. 

According to Lakeland Broadcasting reporter J.P. Cola, Benson is being investigated for a possible sexual assault of a player on the football team.

KSTP corroborates Cola's report by citing a search warrant that says Kimball Police received a report of a possible sexual assault involving the coach and player. 

The search warrant says the player was treated by the coach for a lower back injury in the locker room, but the player can't recall if he fell asleep "or what had happened" when his mother found him alone in the locker room three hours later. 

Liz J. Vieira, associate attorney representing Kimball Public Schools, issued the following statement to Bring Me The News:

"The District learned of a complaint against John Benson on the morning of October 10 and immediately placed him on paid administrative leave from both his coaching and teaching duties. The District is cooperating with the law enforcement investigation to the extent permissible by law."

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Benson, who also works as a special education teacher, was hired to coach at Kimball as a 24-year-old in 2017.

According to the St. Cloud Times, Benson played quarterback at nearby St. John's University, and is the grandson of legendary St. John's coach John Gagliardi.  

Kimball's season came to an end Tuesday night with a 47-22 playoff loss to Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta. 

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Benson had previously worked as an assistant coach at Apollo High School. This is incorrect. We confused him with a coach of the same second name and a similar first name. We apologize for the error.

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