Sep 18, 2017


Scott Hardy
September 18, 2017

Will be arraigned in South Lee County court Oct 2nd

Probable cause has been found against the former owner of a Keokuk private school, who's facing child sex charges.

Court records show that ruling against Benjamin Trane happened in a judge's ruling, filed Monday in South Lee County court, on charges of third degree sex abuse, child endangerment and sexual exploitation. Trane turned himself in earlier this month, after learning that a warrant had been issued in late August for his arrest. That warrant was in response to sexual abuse allegations that surfaced between Trane and a former Midwest Academy student, which triggered raids by local, state and Federal authorities in early January, 2016. The raids later resulted in the school's closing. Investigators say Trane coerced one student to engage in sex acts in order to advance in the program and be allowed to contact relatives. Trane also allegedly had others undress for "body image therapy" sessions he led, and kept students in isolation for extended periods. Earlier this year, Trane and Midwest Academy lost a civil suit filed by former employee Cheyenne Jerred, who said she was fired after reporting the abuse to the school and law enforcement. He and the school are also being sued by former students over alleged abuse they suffered while at the school.

Trane's in the Lee County Jail on $500,000 bond. He'll be arraigned October 2nd.

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