Public Safety

Judge gives probation to former Iowa City church mentor who sexually abused boys

Benjamin Tweedt
Benjamin Tweedt

NORTH LIBERTY — A judge Monday sentenced a North Liberty man to two years probation for sexually abusing four young boys while he was mentor and youth leader at an Iowa City church.  

Sixth Judicial District Ian Thornhill sentenced Benjamin C. Tweedt, 33, to two years probation for a conviction on two counts of indecent contact with a child, both misdemeanors, according to a plea agreement filed in Johnson County District Court. Tweedt pleaded guilty in April.

The remaining seven charges, including third-degree sexual abuse and two counts of lascivious acts with a child, all felonies, were dismissed, court documents show.   

Thornhill also sentenced Tweedt to a special sentence of 10 years parole because this is a sexual abuse conviction, and ordered him to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

Assistant Johnson County Attorney Michael Ringle didn’t return a phone call Tuesday.  

Criminal complaints show North Liberty police learned about the allegations in February 2017 but the alleged abuse goes back as far as August 2006.  

Tweedt was a mentor and youth leader for Parkview Church in Iowa City, which removed Tweedt from any contact with student ministry when police informed them of the allegations, according to criminal complaints.  

Similar incidents detailed in the complaints involved four boys, who were 12- or 13-years-old at the time. The incidents reportedly occurred between August and December 2006, August 2009 and February 2010, January and June 2010 and June and August 2013. All the victims said Tweedt inappropriately touched them and two said Tweedt pushed his body up against them.

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Parkview, at the time of the arrest last year, said in a statement that Tweedt was a volunteer in the church’s junior high ministries before 2012.

Church officials said they told their church community about the situation and were cooperating with police.

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