KEOKUK, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa judge has awarded a default judgment to parents and former students who sued a southeast Iowa boarding school, alleging it used isolation boxes and allowed sexual harassment and abuse.
Lee County documents say the owner of Midwest Academy, Ben Trane, and the other entities never responded to the lawsuit filed against them in March 2016. The judge granted the complainants’ judgment motion last week.
A hearing to establish damages will be held after Trane’s criminal trial, which is scheduled to begin Dec. 12. He’s pleaded not guilty to sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and child endangerment charges.
Trane and the school were the subjects of state and FBI investigations into wide-ranging abuse allegations, including that the Keokuk school kept students in prolonged detention in the small isolation chambers.