KEOKUK, Iowa (AP) -- A former boarding school owner wants his trial on sex abuse and other charges to remain in South Lee County District Court.
The Hawk Eye reports that the attorney for Ben Trane told a judge Monday that her client believes an impartial jury can be fielded so he can receive a fair trial in a Keokuk courtroom. Prosecutors are seeking a new location, citing pretrial publicity and Trane's extensive community ties. The judge said he'd rule later on the prosecution's motion.
Investigators allege Trane used his position at the for-profit Midwest Academy in Keokuk to pursue sexual relationships with teenage students. A judge has awarded a default judgment to parents and former students who sued, alleging the school used isolation boxes and allowed sexual harassment and abuse.