Former Benson star athlete, now a teacher and coach, charged with having sex with student

A teacher and coach from Albany Public Schools is on leave from the school district after being charged with having a sexual relationship with a teenage student. The individual was a standout athlete at Benson High School in the 2000s.

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ST. CLOUD — An initial report of inappropriate touching of a 14-year-old has led to criminal charges against an Albany Public Schools teacher and coach for having sex with a 17-year-old student.

Daniel Sinclair Fragodt, 31, of Melrose, made his first court appearance Monday on a felony charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. The charge alleges that Fragodt engaged in sexual intercourse with a person younger than 18, while he was more than 4 years older and was in a position of authority over her.

Fragodt was released Monday morning on his own recognizance with conditions after a hearing in Stearns County District Court. Bail without conditions was set at $50,000.

A future court date has not been set, as many court activities are on hold in the state because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Fragodt is a math teacher and a basketball, cross country and track coach at Albany Public Schools.


He previously was employed at MACCRAY Public Schools for two years, where he taught seventh-grade math and eighth-grade algebra. He also served as an assistant boys' basketball coach and a girls' tennis coach.

He was a student-athlete while attending the University of Minnesota-Morris. His MACCRAY teacher's profile says he competed for the Cougars for four years in basketball, two years of tennis and one year in track and field.

Fragodt was a standout athlete at Benson High School in the 2000s. In 2007, he won the West Central Tribune’s Hengstler-Ranweiler Award for the outstanding male area athlete of the year. He was a four-sport athlete — football, basketball, track and tennis. He was a state champion hurdler in track.

In a statement, Albany Superintendent Greg Johnson said Fragodt has been on administrative leave since March 26 and has had no contact with the district since then.

The district received a complaint about Fragodt March 25, conducted an initial investigation and contacted the Albany Police Department. He was arrested April 10.

According to court records, police interviewed a 14-year-old girl who alleged that Fragodt had touched her inappropriately several times. The girl said he had rubbed her thighs with his feet and brushed against her buttocks with his hand.

Just before schools closed because of the pandemic, the girl said, Fragodt slid his fingers into a hole in her jeans and touched her bare leg. Another student said she had witnessed the incident.

During that investigation, police learned of allegations of a sexual relationship with an older girl.


The older girl at first denied having a relationship and said she knew Fragodt only as a teacher and coach.

Police obtained Fragodt’s phone records through a subpoena. The records allegedly showed extensive contact since September 2017. The contact included several hours of phone contacts plus extensive texting, according to the criminal complaint.

After police contacted the girl’s parents about the phone records, the girl agreed to another interview in which she told police the relationships started when Fragodt was her teacher and coach.

The relationship became physical when she was 17 years old, the girl said. According to the criminal complaint, the two had intercourse and oral sex at the school, a park-and-ride lot in St. Joseph and at other locations in Albany.

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: or phone 320-214-4340
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