Former teacher convicted of sex crime; 3-year prison sentence stayed

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BEMIDJI — A former teacher at Voyageurs Expeditionary School in Bemidji has been sentenced to four months in jail for felony criminal sexual conduct after he was found guilty of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student.

Paul Joseph Johnson, 49, of Backus, Minn., was sentenced Monday in Beltrami County District Court to 120 days local confinement in the Beltrami County Jail. A three-year prison sentence was stayed for 15 years while Johnson is on supervised probation. He was given conditional release after 10 years and credited with four days time served. Johnson must pay a $1,500 fine.

Johnson taught math at Voyageurs Expeditionary School in Bemidji for five years. The school placed him on unpaid leave and terminated him from his job after the sexual relationship came to light in January.

A female student informed law enforcement she and Johnson were engaging in a romantic sexual relationship from October to December. Court documents say the student and Johnson engaged in sexual intercourse at least three times.

Johnson pleaded not guilty to a felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge in June. He amended his plea to guilty in August.

Johnson was granted furloughs while in jail to attend sex offender treatment. Conditions of Johnson’s release include no contact with victim or her family, no unauthorized use of the Internet, no possession of any pornographic material, no contact with persons under age 18 without pre-approval, no alcohol or controlled substance use, random testing and submission of DNA sample. Johnson must register as a sex offender.