Prosecutors in ND teacher criminal case now want remaining charges dismissed


Prosecutors in the criminal sex trial of a former Norther Dakota Teacher of the Year are now asking a judge to dismiss the remaining charges in the case.

This comes just days before the second trial of Aaron Knodel – a West Fargo High School educator accused of having a sexual relationship with a student in 2009 – was due to begin.

Though a jury had cleared Knodel of three of the five counts against him, the presiding judge earlier this month declared a mistrial on the remaining charges. The former teacher was to be retried starting next week.

But on Thursday night, state attorneys filed a motion to have those two charges dismissed.

According to the Forum, prosecutors had "always leaned toward" dropping the two counts against Knodel, but felt pressure after having been given just two weeks to prepare for the retrial. They had requested more time, but that was denied by the judge last week.

In a four-page letter asking for the dismissal, they also blamed the defense, Judge Steven McCullough and even the media for the way the trial proceeded, saying the purported victim in the case was treated unfairly, KFYR notes.

Additionally, state attorneys did not want to continue to "waste tax dollars" in prosecuting Knodel, according to Valley News Live.

The dismissal is now awaiting approval by a district court judge, the Forum says.

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