More details are emerging about an Urbandale middle school teacher accused of sexually abusing a student and a former student.
Benjamin Hoffman had little to say as a judge read off the charges against him, but released police reports say plenty.
According to the reports, the parents of a 13-year-old student Hoffman used to teach called police after they say they discovered Hoffman had gotten their daughter drunk and had sex with her in his West Des Moines apartment.
“One of the victims and her friend had snuck out of the house and one called the mom of the victim and said they were out, needed help so the mother found out what was going on and they came to the police department to report it,” explains West Des Moines Police Lieutenant Jim Barrett.
Police say they believe Hoffman groomed his students to become his victims. “Yeah, it was a progression.” says Lt. Barrett, “He had a friendly relationship with her at school and that led to phone messages and text messages outside of school. Then they met at different places and that finally led to going to his apartment and sex acts.”
Hoffman is also accused of sexually abusing a 14-year old girl who was also a student of his in Norwalk.
The news comes as a shock to Urbandale school superintendent Doug Stilwell. Not only did he know Hoffman and his family, the district also did an extensive background check before he was hired.
“So to know that we followed all of the protocols all the way from interviews, checking references, background check, believing that we’ve hired the right people and then to have something like this happen it’s um, it’s pretty devastating,” Stilwell says. “Trust is broken on so many levels.”
Now, Stillwell says the district will work to rebuild that trust but he admits it won’t be easy.
Hoffman faces 11 counts of sex abuse, one count of sexual exploitation by a school employee and two counts of providing alcohol to a minor.
The 23 year old teacher is free on a $25,000 bond.
You can read the police report in the case here.