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Regina High School teacher accused of sexual misconduct in previous job put on administrative leave
A high school teacher at the Regina Catholic Education Center in Iowa City, who was arrested this week on charges of sexual misconduct at a previous job, has been put on administrative leave, according to a letter sent to parents by the school on Tuesday.
Cody LaKose, 37, is accused of grooming and having a sexual relationship with a student when he was a teacher at Central DeWitt High School in 2017. He’s charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a minor — cause to engage in act, and four counts of sexual exploitation by a school employee. He was released from jail Wednesday on a $10,000 bond.
LaKose, of Cedar Rapids, was taken into custody and escorted out of Regina High School Tuesday morning by the DeWitt Police Department, according to the letter.
The DeWitt Police Department started investigating LaKose last year after a former student went to the police station to report that LaKose had groomed her and had a sexual relationship with her while she was a student in DeWitt.
She told police she was worried he could be grooming students in his current teaching position, according to a criminal complaint.
According to the Regina letter, signed by Principal Glenn Plummer and Superintendent Lynne Devaney, LaKose has worked for the Catholic school as a high school science teacher since August 2020.
“Current information does not indicate illegal activity or an unsafe environment on the Regina campus. If parents/guardians have additional information they would like to share, they are encouraged to contact the Iowa City Police Department,” the letter states.
The school conducted reference checks and a review of records with the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners before hiring LaKose, according to the letter. LaKose also completed a Virtus training and criminal record check. The Virtus check is required of all employees of the Diocese of Davenport, which runs the school.
“Since 2002, Regina has participated with the Diocese of Davenport on the implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” the letter reads. “The Charter addresses the Church’s commitment to deal appropriately and effectively with cases of sexual abuse of minors by anyone serving the Church in ministry, employment or a volunteer position, whether the sexual abuse was recent or occurred many years ago. The sexual abuse or exploitation of God’s children will not be tolerated.”
The school also stated that counselors and administrators are available to support students through this difficult time.
When LaKose was asked to resign from DeWitt in 2018, he and the Central DeWitt Community School District signed a settlement agreement in which the district promised to provide LaKose “with mutually agreeable letters of reference that he can present to prospective employers. The reference letters will not include any untruthful, inaccurate or misleading statements.”
District Superintendent Dan Peterson shared the settlement agreement with a letter he sent to parents Tuesday.
LaKose worked in DeWitt from 2010 to 2018. During 2019 and 2020, he worked as a substitute in the Cedar Rapids Community School District, primarily at Franklin Middle School, according to the Cedar Rapids district.
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