- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

WEST FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A former North Dakota teacher of the year who is accused of a child sex crime has pleaded not guilty to felony counts.

Aaron Knodel is facing five counts of felony corruption or solicitation of a minor. He entered his pleas before a Cass County judge Wednesday.

Knodel is accused of having sexual contact with a 17-year-old female student more than five years ago.

The West Fargo High School teacher in August was suspended from his job without pay and benefits. He had been on paid administrative leave since February, when the school first learned of the allegations against him.

Defense attorney Robert Hoy has said that Knodel is not guilty and passed a lie-detector test.

Knodel was named the 2014 teacher of the year by North Dakota’s teachers union.

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