Former school counselor charged with sexual assault - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Former school counselor charged with sexual assault

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) - Police arrested 41-year old Donald Lyle Clark this morning. They say he inappropriately touched a 5thgrade boy during counseling sessions at Lemme Elementary School. He is charged with 2nd degree sexual abuse.

Clark was a counselor at Lemme and Grant Wood elementary schools from 2001 until last year. Police say the alleged victim reported the abuse on June 10th of this year.

Sgt. Troy Kelsay says the abuse happened on at least two separate occasions. "These meetings occurred in Mr. Clark's office. They were usually private meetings, one-on-one, and the door was often closed for privacy."

The criminal complaint says during one session, Clark touched the victim's genital area over his clothing. The second time, police say, clark went under the victim's pants, and placed a stuffed animal over his mouth to keep him quiet.

"In many instances such as this, there are additional victims," said Kelsay. That's why the district is now reaching out to parents of former Lemme students, to find out if any abuse has gone unreported.

Superintendent Dr. Lane Plugge says the district wants to ensure parents that the proper actions are being taken. "We've done a review of our counseling procedures, and the role of our counselors, and we feel fairly confident in those procedures."

The allegations raise questions of how to spot an offender, but one abuse counselor told us, it can be just as difficult as spotting a victim. "Is it someone who tends to take kids off by themselves? Is it somebody who is inappropriate in their talk with young people?" Karla Miller, Executive Director of Iowa City's Rape Victim Advocacy Program, told us there are many factors involved.

The school district says its focus now will be to provide support for students and their families. The Johnson County Attorney is expected to file for trial procedures against Clark in the coming days.

The district says there was nothing on Clark's record to indicate that this would happen, but police say he was arrested last year for drunken driving in University Heights, and then charged with indecent exposure for performing a sex act on an inmate at the Johnson County jail.

The school district will be holding a meeting for parents on Thursday, August 13th, at City High School, from 7 to 9 PM. The district hope to address questions and concerns at that time.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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