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Former Midwest Academy owner found guilty

KHQA Photo{ }

Updated Story Dec. 22, 2017 7:20 p.m.

The verdict is in for former Midwest Academy owner Benjamin Trane.

Ben Trane has been found guilty on three charges decided by a jury of nine men and three women.

After only two-and -a -half hours of deliberation, the jury in a Southeast Iowa courtroom found former Midwest Academy owner Benjamin Trane guilty.

Trane was up against three separate charges: sexual abuse in the third degree, sexual exploitation of a child by counselor (a Class D Felony) and child endangerment (an Aggravated Misdemeanor).

Trane received the lesser charge of sexual abuse in the third degree. The lesser charge: assault with intent to commit sexual abuse (an Aggravated Misdemeanor).

"It felt like a funeral," described Shelly Rubio, a church goer with Trane.

An emotionless Benjamin Trane sat hunched over in chair as the judge read the jury’s decision.

"We find Benjamin Trane guilty of pattern practice or skiing to engage in sexual exploitation by a counselor,” read District Court Judge Mark Kruse.

The courtroom audience, filled with former Midwest Academy employees, students and family members, sobbing as the reading of Trane’s guilty verdict continued.

"We find Benjamin Trane guilty of child endangerment,” read Judge Kruse.

Shelly Rubio went to church with Mr. Trane and her husband also worked at the academy.

"I do not believe that Ben Trane was guilty of any sexual misconduct in anyway,” said Rubio.

Callie Peterson was a former employee working various rolls at the academy.

"While I was there, I think I was blinded by the desire to help students and that place was an outlet for me to do that. Basically, I think I put blinders on to things now away from there and in my right mind are obvious signs of neglect and things that just aren’t right,” said Peterson.

Peterson was a family rep to one of the sexual abuse victims for a period of time.

"I didn't know a lot of the details of the story and when I saw a lot of the details and heard a lot of the details that’s really where a lot of the puzzle pieces I had before clicked,” said Peterson.

Peterson says Friday is a day the victims and innocent won't forget.

"Some of the students adored Ben and they still do adore Ben. I am happy that the students who were victimized, their stories are validated,” stated Peterson.

There has not been a sentencing date set yet.

Trane will be sentenced within the next eight weeks,

The judge of the trial says the sentencing could happening as early as next week.

Benjamin Trane could face up to nine years in prison.

Trane was released on previously paid bond ($50,000).

Original Story Dec. 22, 2017 12:48 p.m.

The jury finds Benjamin Trane guilty on the following charges:

Charge 1: Assault with Intent to Commit Sexual Abuse (Aggravated Misdemeanor)

Charge 2: Sexual Exploitation of a Child by a Counselor

Charge 3: Child Endangerment

The jury resumed deliberations Friday morning and came to a verdict in just under two hours Friday.

Deliberations for Thursday lasted around 45-minutes until the trial ended for the day.

Ben Trane is the former owner of Midwest Academy in Keokuk, Iowa.

Trane has been on trial in a South Lee County Courthouse for nine days.



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