DEWITT, Iowa — A former Central Dewitt High School teacher has been arrested following an investigation into the sexual exploitation of a student while he was employed at the school, according to Clinton County affidavits.
The affidavits were published on the Central Dewitt Community School District's website by Superintendent Dr. Dan Peterson, as part of a larger statement addressing the allegations.
According to the documents and Dr. Peterson's statement, while LaKose was employed as a science teacher at Central Dewitt in 2017, he allegedly groomed an underage female student into a sexual relationship.
An investigation was launched into the incident on March 2, 2022 after the victim came to the Dewitt Police Department with her story. She told law enforcement that she came forward because she feared that LaKose could target students at his current teaching position. LaKose resigned from Central Dewitt in 2018, and is currently listed as a science teacher and coach at Regina Catholic Education Center in Iowa City, according to the school's faculty directory and his LinkedIn profile.
The investigation began with the victim's report of sexual exploitation, which started in the spring of 2017 when she was a minor and Central Dewitt student. The exploitation included kissing, genital touching and sexual intercourse — all allegedly taking place inside LaKose's school office.
Her report also included direct messages of sexual nature that LaKose sent to her on Twitter. Subpoenas found that the account that sent the messages, @mrLaKose, was registered with LaKose's birthday and an email address that LaKose had provided in paperwork in his personal file.
The report also says that LaKose had received naked pictures of her before she had turned 18, that he had asked for them and that he had instructed her to take the pictures in a variety of positions.
Later, in Oct. 2022, a Dewitt police officer attempted to arrange an interview with LaKose, which he turned down. After this incident, the victim reported that LaKose had sent her a text message asking her if she said anything about their relationship. The text came from the same phone number that LaKose had provided to the officer. She also provided a screenshot showing that she had received a photo of male genitals from the same number on June 3, showing a continuance of sexual communication. The phone number also matched the one LaKose had provided in his personal file from the Central Dewitt School District.
LaKose was arrested and booked into the Clinton County Jail on Tuesday, March 21. He has been charged with a felony count of sexual exploitation of a minor, a felony count of sexual exploitation by school employee and three misdemeanor counts of sexual exploitation by school employee.
"Please keep the victim that came forward and their family in your thoughts and prayers. This took such amazing courage," Superintendent Peterson said in his statement. "This is never the type of information I want to share with you. I am ashamed, disappointed, and heartbroken that this happened on my watch over our amazing school district. I pray that nothing like this ever happens again here…or anywhere else. Most importantly, I hope that this allows those involved to begin to heal."
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