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Former Iowa boarding school owner appeals abuse convictions

August 8, 2019

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court is considering whether to throw out the conviction of a former Iowa boarding school director found guilty by a jury of sexually and physically abusing a student at the private school he once owned.

Benjamin Trane is serving a nine-year prison sentence for assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of a child by a counselor and child endangerment.

He owned the Midwest Academy in Keokuk, a private, for-profit school that closed in 2016 following a federal raid to investigate abuse allegations.

Trane’s attorney Alfredo Parrish argued to the court Thursday that Trane did not get a fair trial because the judge didn’t allow evidence that would have cast doubt on the credibility of a female student who alleged sexual abuse.

He asked for a new trial.

An assistant attorney general argued the jury’s verdict should stand.

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