Christian school teacher in Iowa faces 140 abuse charges
The arrest in October of fifth grade teacher Curtis Van Dam, 35, of Sioux Center Christian School in northwest Iowa, has led to a lot of hand-wringing and talk of prayer from the ‘Christ-centered’ school’s officials.
Van Dam, according to a statement issued by the school, has been charged with 101 felonies and 39 misdemeanours allegedly committed between August 2013 and October 2017.
The school’s statement said:
We’ve wept, now it’s time to weep again. We’ve prayed, now we need to continue praying. We’ve brought our anger and fears to the Lord, and now we need to lay those feelings again at His feet.
The statement also offered reassurance to parents and children:
Kids, we want you to know that we consider you brave for telling your parents, the police, and the interviewers what happened to you.
We praise God that your testimony has brought to light a dark secret that none of us adults knew was there.
Please know that thousands are lifting you before the throne of your Father in heaven … Trust Him to restore you completely.
Our focus at Sioux Center Christian continues to be the Christ-centered education of our students, while also providing daily support and guidance to students as needed through their teachers and professional counsellors.
Authorities say charges were filed after a complaint was lodged with police on October 18, alleging inappropriate conduct between the teacher and a pupil at the school.
But since the original allegation was made 140 separate charges have been filed, including 14 counts of sexual exploitation by a teacher.
The school added:
On Oct 18, within hours of hearing a complaint, school officials removed Mr Van Dam from the school and immediately contacted authorities. His employment was terminated on Oct 19 and we have been in full cooperation with civil authorities since.
This case is in the hands of our criminal justice system and we trust that justice will be served. Though the number of charges do not necessarily reflect the number of students, we are grieved again as we hear the extent of the charges.
Van Dam is currently being detained in Sioux County Jail and is awaiting trial.