Trial begins for former ND Teacher of the Year accused of sex with student

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The trial of the 2014 North Dakota Teacher of the Year accused of having sex with a student started Tuesday, and is expected to last up to a week.

The Fargo Forum reports the prosecution opened its case Tuesday, addressing why the woman waited five years to come forward about her alleged affair with West Fargo teacher Aaron Knodel.

She was 17 at the time prosecutors claim the physical contact happened, and he was 29.

According to the newspaper, the woman is studying social work in college, and realized she would be asking alleged victims of sexual abuse or misconduct to report it – and therefore she should do the same.

Prior to this, Assistant Attorney General John Byers told the court it bothered the woman when Knodel won the Teacher of the Year Award, as people supporting him "didn't know the picture," Valley News Live reports.

The defense will give its opening statements Wednesday.

Knodel, now 35 years old, was charged in August with five counts of felony corruption or solicitation of a minor.

According to the charges, their relationship began when Knodel sent her text messages during the 2008 winter break, which continued and got more personal.

The criminal complaint against Knodel says he engaged in sex acts with the teen multiple times in February and March of 2009, including in his classroom and at his home.

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