Iowa City Regina teacher charged with sexually exploiting student in DeWitt

·3 min read

An Iowa City Regina Catholic High School teacher was released from jail on $10,000 bond Wednesday after being charged in connection with allegations that he groomed and had sex with an underage student he taught while at Central DeWitt High School in Clinton County,

An Iowa City police investigator arrested Cody LaKose, 37, and escorted him from the school Tuesday to police headquarters, where he was turned over to DeWitt police. He was charged with felony and misdemeanor counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and sexual exploitation by a school employee.

The Clinton County Sheriff's Office issued a no-contact order between LaKose and the alleged victim.

The Quad-City Times reported that LaKose resigned from DeWitt at the request of school officials halfway through the 2018 school year. According to his since-deleted LinkedIn page, he then taught science at Cedar Rapids schools for over a year before being hired at Regina in a similar role in August 2020.

LaKose's faculty profile is no longer available on Regina's website and he has been placed on administrative leave, according to the school.

Criminal complaint says former student worried LaKose might be victimizing others

A criminal complaint said an investigation of LaKose began in March 2022 after a woman told police he had groomed her and had a sexual relationship with her starting in spring 2017 while she was one of his students at Central Dewitt. The complaint said she accused LaKose of kissing her and engaging in oral sex and sexual intercourse with her in his school office.

The complaint said she feared Lakose could be targeting and grooming students in his current teaching position. It said she also provided police copies of several email alerts indicating LaKose had sent her direct messages on Twitter under the username @mrLaKose that were sexual in nature. The messages corroborated what she told police, the complaint said.

In addition, it said she and LaKose had exchanged nude photos in text messages from March 2017 to as recently as June 2022.

Regina administration responds to LaKose's arrest, reassures families

Regina junior and senior high Principal Glenn Plummer and Superintendent Lynne Devaney informed families of students in a letter Tuesday of LaKose's arrest and said there was no indication of illegal activity or an unsafe environment on the Regina campus. However, it said if parents or guardians had information they wanted to share. they should contact Iowa City police.

"The sexual abuse or exploitation of God's children will not be tolerated," the letter said.

The letter referenced a Catholic commitment to deal appropriately and effectively with cases of sexual abuse of minors by anyone involved with church institutions, from clergy to volunteers.

"Please know the Regina staff care deeply for the well-being and protection of our students. In our best efforts to support our students through this difficult time, we will have counselors and administrators available for those who need assistance," the letter said.

George Shillcock is the Press-Citizen's local government and development reporter covering Iowa City and Johnson County. He can be reached at (319) 214-5039, and on Twitter @ShillcockGeorge

This article originally appeared on Iowa City Press-Citizen: Regina teacher Cody LaKose charged with sexually exploiting a minor