WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Six-Figure Award in Southeast Iowa Whistleblower Lawsuit

May 10, 2017

A judge ordered Midwest Academy to pay former employee Cheyenne Jerred $748,800 in her whistleblower lawsuit against the shuttered Lee County boarding school for troubled teens.

Jerred claimed in her lawsuit, filed in January 2016, that she was fired for going to her superiors about a student’s claims of sexual assault and harassment against Ben Trane, who owns Midwest Academy.

Trane claimed in court documents filed this week that Jerred was fired for violating rules related to staff interaction with students. He said he wanted to make sure the court was aware of this before the damages were established.

District Court Judge John Wright did not acknowledge Trane's claims in his ruling . He did state that only Midwest Academy is financially responsible for the $748,800.

Wright's ruling followed a previous ruling that Midwest Academy defaulted on the lawsuit.

Attorney Curt Dial, who represented Jerred in the lawsuit, said his client is happy with the judgment. But he said it could be a while before it's known how much money Jerred will actually receive.

Trane previously claimed that he is broke and that Midwest Academy had no assets. The school closed a couple weeks after the filing of Jerred’s lawsuit.