ORANGE CITY, Iowa | A former Sioux Center, Iowa, teacher is accused of having sexual contact with at least 13 children dating back more than three years, court documents containing the formal charges show.
Curtis Van Dam is scheduled to stand trial March 6 in Sioux County District Court on 146 charges -- 103 felonies and 43 misdemeanors -- that carry a total of 2,088 years in prison.
Trial information filed Nov. 17 by Sioux County Attorney Thomas Kunstle did not reveal the gender of the children, but alleged victims are identified by 13 sets of initials. Authorities have previously declined to say how many children were involved or their gender.
Some or all of the children were under age 12 or 13. The charges allege that Van Dam, who taught at Sioux Center Christian School, had inappropriate contact with some of them on at least two dozen separate occasions. Van Dam is charged with having sexual conduct with one of the children for two entire school years.
Van Dam, 36, remains in custody after District Judge Patrick Tott on Monday continued his bond at $150,000 at the conclusion of a bond review hearing requested by Van Dam's attorney, Edward Bjornstad, of Spirit Lake, Iowa.
Tott wrote in his order that releasing Van Dam "would jeopardize the personal safety of another person or persons." Leaving his bond at the current amount also assures Van Dam's appearance at future hearings, Tott wrote.
Van Dam on Nov. 27 entered a written plea of not guilty to 73 counts of second-degree sexual abuse, 12 counts of third-degree sexual abuse, three counts of lascivious acts with a child, 15 counts of sexual exploitation by a school employee, 37 counts of lascivious conduct with a minor and six counts of indecent exposure.
The incidents occurred during a time period from Aug. 26, 2014, through Oct. 17 of this year, court documents show.
Van Dam was arrested Oct. 23 after a complaint was filed against him for inappropriate contact with a student. As Sioux Center police investigated the complaint, they filed additional charges related to incidents with other children.
In many instances, several of the charges filed against Van Dam, who taught fifth grade at the private school, relate to several individual incidents with each child.
The 85 sexual abuse charges pertain to actions with six children. There were 24 separate instances of inappropriate contact with two of those children, many of them occurring during an overlapping time period. Another child was listed in 20 separate instances.
Those charges all simply stated that Van Dam "did commit sexual abuse" upon each child.
Van Dam is accused of lascivious conduct, legally defined as "forcing, persuading or coercing a minor to fully or partially disrobe" with six of the children listed in the court documents. He is also charged with permitting two of children to touch his genitals and exposing himself to three of the children.
Police have said the incidents took place at various locations, including the school, where Van Dam taught for nine years. School administrators removed Van Dam from the school after the first complaint was filed and later fired him.