KEOKUK, Iowa — The former owner of an Iowa-based boarding school that accepted students from all over the country has been arrested on sex and child abuse charges.
Former Midwest Academy owner Benjamin Trane was booked Thursday at the Lee County Jail in Montrose, Iowa. The sheriff’s office says he is charged with third-degree sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and child endangerment. He is expected to appear in court Friday.
Investigators raided the school’s Keokuk campus in January 2016 to investigate complaints that students faced physical, mental and sexual abuse, which included being held in small isolation boxes for days or weeks at a time.
The school abruptly closed, sending nearly 100 students home and laying off its 60 workers. It has since faced lawsuits from former students and criminal investigations by local, state and federal agencies.
It was unclear from online court records if Trane has an attorney who could answer questions about the charges.