On December 1, 2015 the Lee County Attorney’s Office, Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS), Iowa Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Division of Criminal Investigation’s (DCI) Major Crime Unit, and Lee County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) were notified of a sexual abuse at the Midwest Academy (2416 340th Street, Keokuk). The investigation revealed a student (16-17 years old) who attended Midwest Academy was sexually assaulted by 39-yar-old Benjamin Trane, the Owner and Director, of Midwest Academy and Midwest Treatment Center (2818 Hwy 218, Montrose).
On January 28, 2016 the LCSO, DCI, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAO), DCI Crime Lab Crime Scene Team (CST), State Fire Marshal Division (SFM), Division of Intelligence (DOI), Iowa State Patrol (ISP) conducted a search warrant regarding the sexual abuse investigation.
Additional search warrants related to the investigation were conducted on February 1, 2016 and February 11, 2016. The investigation included inter,.’iews of over 70 current students, 30 former students, family members of students, and dozens of current and former employees of Midwest Academy who were located across the United States.
Lee County Attorney Mike Short (retired) requested assistance from the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, Area Prosecutions and the case was assigned to Assistant Attorney General Denise Timmins.
On August 29. 2017 charges were filed by the DCI as result of the multi-agency investigation and Ben Trane was taken into custody at the Lee County Jail on September 7. 2017.
After a two week trial, a South Lee County jury found Ben Trane guilty of Sexual Exploitation by a Counselor or Therapist (a Class D Felony). Assault with the Intent to Commit Sexual Abuse (an Aggravated Misdemeanor), and Child Endangerment (an Aggravated Misdemeanor).
Ben Trane faces the possibility of a 9 year prison term and sentencing was pending a pre-sentence investigation, conducted by the 8′ Judicial Department of Corrections. Trane was released on previously paid bond ($50,000).
“This conviction is the result of an extensive, time-consuming investigation by so many agencies. Justice was served in Lee County for the students and families that were at Midwest Academy,” the Iowa DCI said via social media.