UPDATE: A 37-year-old former DeWitt teacher accused of an inappropriate relationship with a former student has been released on bond.
Cody LaKose faces multiple charges after a victim alleged the inappropriate relationship occurred, according to the Central DeWitt Community School District superintendent, court documents and jail records. He was released Wednesday on $10,000 bond from Clinton County Jail, and is set for a preliminary hearing March 31 in Clinton County Court, according to court documents.
EARLIER: A 37-year-old former DeWitt teacher faces multiple charges after a victim alleged an inappropriate relationship occurred, according to the Central DeWitt Community School District superintendent, court documents and jail records.
Cody LaKose, of Cedar Rapids, faces a felony charge of sexual exploitation of a minor-cause to engage in act, a felony charge of sexual exploitation by a school employee, and three aggravated misdemeanor charges of sexual exploitation by a school employee, court records show.
An investigation begins
On March 2, 2022, DeWitt Police opened an investigation into alleged incidents involving LaKose, according to arrest affidavits. The investigation was a result of a former student who alleged being groomed by LaKose and who had a sexual relationship with the teacher while the victim was a student at Central DeWitt, affidavits show.
The victim feared LaKose could be targeting and grooming students in his current teaching position, police report in arrest affidavits.
According to affidavits, the victim reported that during the spring of 2017, while the student was still a minor, LaKose and the victim began a sexual relationship, with some incidents in his school office.
The former student also provided the police with digital messages LaKose had sent. “These messages were sexual in nature and corroborate the information the victim reported to the DeWitt Police Department,” police allege in affidavits.
According to court documents, LaKose was arrested Tuesday on a warrant. He was being held Tuesday on a $10,000 cash-only bond in Clinton County Jail.
Sexual exploitation of a minor is a Class C felony, which carries a sentence of no more than 10 years and a fine of $1,000 to $10,000.
DeWitt superintendent responds
In a message to the Central DeWitt Community School District community, Superintendent Dan Peterson responded to LaKose’s arrest.
“As many of you know, Cody LaKose was a high school science teacher and coach for our school district from August 2010 to December 2018. At that time, he resigned from the school district midyear,” the message says.
There isn’t a lot that the district can say about his employment other than the dates of his employment, Peterson says in the message.
“We thoroughly investigate any information we receive regarding inappropriate acts, and go above and beyond to try to discover more. Anything we discovered regarding LaKose was referred to law enforcement at the time. LaKose’s personnel information was subpoenaed by law enforcement. I have been following the situation and requesting updates periodically for the past four years. Thank goodness they recently had a break in the case allowing them to proceed,” Peterson says in the message.
“These are extremely ugly allegations and findings, but I want to be transparent with the information that can be shared. I realize that just because information can be shared, doesn’t mean it should be shared,” Peterson continues. “I just believe in this situation, regarding a former school employee, I should provide as much information as I can.”
“Please keep the victim that came forward and their family in your thoughts and prayers. This took such amazing courage,” Peterson says.
“This is never the type of information I want to share with you. I am ashamed, disappointed, and heartbroken that this happened on my watch over our amazing school district. I pray that nothing like this ever happens again here … or anywhere else. Most importantly, I hope that this allows those involved to begin to heal.”
Peterson says anyone with questions or comments may contact him “and I will do my best to respond.”