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Former Students & Parents Leaving Lawsuit Against Closed Boarding School in Lee County

Oct 2, 2019

A small group of former Midwest Academy students and their parents in 2016 sued the shut-down boarding school for troubled teens. Their suit included the former owner of the school. Court records now show the lawsuit appears to be falling apart.

Midwest Academy was the subject of a raid by local, state, and federal law enforcement in early 2016 as part of an investigation into sexual abuse. The school closed soon after.

The lawsuit filed in south Lee County District Court alleges sexual abuse of students, the use of isolation rooms as punishment, a lack of proper nutrition, and improper training of staff. It provides specific examples of what each student experienced and seeks compensation for damages related to fraud, assault, battery, and false imprisonment.

Court records show that about half of the plaintiffs in the case have signed documents asking the court to remove them from the lawsuit. All of the requests for removal were signed after March 8, 2019.

That date is when Chief Judge Mary Ann Brown released a ruling that removed Midwest Twister from the lawsuit. Midwest Twister owns the land where the school was located and was listed as a defendant along with the school and former owner Ben Trane.

The students and their parents claimed in their lawsuit that Midwest Twister was an alter-ego for the boarding school. Judge Brown said there was no proof connecting Midwest Twister to the school other than as the owner of the land.

It’s unclear when or if the remaining plaintiffs will remain in the lawsuit. Their attorney did not reply to a request for comment.