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Ex-teacher seeks plea deal in sex abuse case

Ex-teacher seeks plea deal in sex abuse case

Ankeny man charged with three counts of 3rd-degree sexual abuse

A former Pella, Iowa, band teacher who is accused of having sex with an underage girl in 2011 at three sites in Floyd County, including a cemetery, is negotiating for a plea bargain with the Floyd County Attorney’s Office.

Benjamin James Thompson, 31, of Ankeny is charged with three counts of third-degree sexual abuse.

In a motion filed Wednesday to delay his trial, which is currently set for Nov. 17, Public Defender Susan Flander wrote that the trial “should be continued because defendant is making a plea offer; negotiations and correspondence may take some time. Defendant will be prepared for trial on the next trial setting if the case is not resolved by and agreement.”

Floyd County District Court Judge DeDra Schroeder sustained Flander’s motion and rescheduled the trial for Jan. 12.

In May, the Pella Police Department contacted the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office about information from an interview about a possible sexual assault in Floyd County.

The Sheriff’s Office found out that in the spring of 2011, Thompson had been “talking, texting and Skyping things in a sexual nature” with a 15-yearold girl from Charles City, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office.

The 27-year-old Thompson eventually drove to Charles City to meet the girl and on three occasions, he picked her up in his vehicle and drove to remote areas in Floyd County to have sex, the release said.

He is also charged in Marion County with three counts of sexual exploitation by a school employee.

The charges stem from events that occurred in Pella in the summer of 2014 involving a now graduated high school student. At the time, Thompson was employed as a band teacher by the Pella Community School District.

During a Floyd County court hearing in July regarding bail to get out of the Floyd County Jail, Thompson said he would return to Ankeny to live with his parents, who were in the courtroom, and he’d attempt to get his job back with Caribou Coffee where he was a shift supervisor making $9.50 per hour.

By Chris Baldus [email protected]

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