Iowa boarding school director guilty of abuse charges

KEOKUK, Iowa – A southeast Iowa jury on Friday found a former boarding school director guilty of abusing students, days, after, he, with tears in his eyes testified that he had no pain, no children.

The jury found Benjamin Trane guilty to assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of a child by a counselor, and child endangering, according to the Burlington Hawk-Eye . The jury did not know Trane is guilty of a more serious charge, third-degree sexual abuse, which would have meant a 10-year prison sentence.

The nine-man, three-woman jury began deliberating Thursday afternoon.

Trane will be sentenced early next year and could face up to nine years in prison.

Trane was the owner and director of Midwest Academy, in Keokuk. The school was closed in January 2016, after a raid by federal, state and local officials, in which about 100 students to be sent home or to other schools.

Earlier in the process, Trane had sometimes with tears in his eyes, rejected charges that he sexually and physically abused children at the school.

Asked about the testimony that he had abused students, Trane told jurors Wednesday, “It is absolutely not the truth.”

On Friday, Trane, 39, remained stoic as district court judge Mark Kruse read the verdict. A number of supporters of Trane in the courtroom choked back tears.


Information from: The Hawk Eye,

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