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Van Dam sex abuse case set for February trial

October 4, 2018

Van Dam

ORANGE CITY, Iowa -- A former Sioux Center, Iowa, teacher facing 146 charges related to inappropriate sexual contact with children has been scheduled to stand trial in February.

District Judge Steven Andreasen on Tuesday set Curtis Van Dam’s trial for Feb. 5 in Sioux County District Court.

Van Dam’s attorney, Edward Bjornstad, of Spirit Lake, Iowa, last month had filed a waiver of his client’s right to a speedy trial within one year of his Nov. 27 arraignment.

Andreason gave Bjornstad and Sioux County Attorney Thomas Kunstle a Monday deadline to request any remaining depositions.

Van Dam, 36, of Sioux Center, has pleaded not guilty to having inappropriate sexual contact with at least 13 children between August 2014 and October 2017.

Van Dam was arrested on Oct. 23 after the parents of an 11-year-old boy reported that Van Dam had had sexual contact with their son. At least 15 boys have reported incidents, five of them alleging that Van Dam had physical contact with them, police have said.

According to court documents, some or all of the children were under age 12 or 13, and the incidents took place at various locations, including Sioux Center Christian School, where Van Dam taught for nine years before he was fired after charges mounted against him. Van Dam, who taught fifth grade, is accused of sexually abusing or having inappropriate contact with some of the children on at least 24 separate occasions over several months.

Van Dam was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison in September on one count of sexual exploitation of a child, a charge stemming from a separate set of victims and circumstances.

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