- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 12, 2017

KEOKUK, Iowa (AP) - An attorney appointed to defend an Iowa boarding school owner against abuse charges says he can’t take the case because he’s sued him in related matters.

Curtis Dial was appointed last week to represent former Midwest Academy director Ben Trane, who’s charged with sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and child endangerment.

Dial, a contract public defender, said Tuesday he’s withdrawing due to his conflict, which was unknown to the judge who appointed him.

Investigators allege Trane used his position at the for-profit Keokuk school to pursue sexual relationships with teenage students while keeping others in solitary confinement. He’s pleaded not guilty.

Dial represented an employee who obtained a $748,000 judgment this year against Trane’s corporation after alleging she was fired for reporting that a student had been sexually assaulted. Dial also briefly represented students suing Trane over alleged abuse.

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