Former Midwest Academy owner asks for a new trial - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Former Midwest Academy owner asks for a new trial

Ben Trane Ben Trane
Ben Trane when the verdict was read. Ben Trane when the verdict was read.
Trane speaking to the media in 2016 following the raid on his school. Trane speaking to the media in 2016 following the raid on his school.

Former Midwest Academy Owner Ben Trane has asked a judge for a new trial on child sex abuse, exploitation, and child endangerment charges.

Trane's lawyer made the filing Thursday in a sentencing hearing, according to a Lee County circuit clerk.

Trane is accused of mentally and sexually abusing students at Midwest Academy in Keokuk.

Three criminal complaints were filed against Trane in Aug. of 2017 by Iowa Department of Public Safety Special Agent Joe Lestino.

In one complaint, Lestino describes the sexual abuse allegation against Trane.

Lestino stated between January and December of 2015, Trane performed sexual acts on a student. He stated Trane "coerced the student to engage in sex acts for her to successfully participate and 'level up' in the program and to be able to contact her family members."

In the second complaint, Lestino stated the following:

During September 2014 through January 2016, defendant was owner and director of the Midwest Academy, a private for-profit therapeutic boarding school. Defendant held himself out to students as a counselor and therapist. Defendant proctored and participated in individual and group counseling sessions with female students, which included 'body therapy". The "body image therapy" involved the defendant having the female students undress and stand in front of a mirror to discuss what aspects of their body they did not like of felt uncomfortable with. Defendant further engaged in sexually explicit conversations with female students through conversation and written questionnaires and had physical contact with some of the female students. These acts were done for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification and attempted grooming.

The third complaint, which charges Trane with child endangerment, Lestino stated that the defendant maintained an environment that created a substantial risk to the students' physical, mental, or emotional health and/or safety. He stated this included solitary confinement for extended periods of time. 

Multiple agencies, including the FBI, raided Midwest Academy in Keokuk in 2016 in light of sexual abuse allegations and students were removed. The school was officially closed just days later.

Trane was convicted in a jury trial in December.

You can find previous WGEM News coverage of Trane and Midwest Academy below:

Multiple agencies raid Keokuk boarding school in light of sexual abuse allegations
Midwest Academy officially closed after sexual abuse allegations
Midwest Academy owner says students removed from facility
Former Midwest Academy owner arrested
Former students, staff speak out after Midwest Academy closes for good
Former students, staff fire back after abuse allegations at Midwest Academy
Charges could take months for Midwest Academy sex abuse case
Midwest Academy owner center of ongoing investigation
Former Midwest Academy employee awarded nearly $750,000
Former boarding school owner released on bond
Documents reveal accusations against former Tri-State school owner
Case against former school owner moves forward
Jury selection to continue after day one of Ben Trane trial
Jury deliberates in Midwest Academy sex abuse case
Jury finds former Keokuk boarding school owner guilty

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