Joshua Meribole – Staff Writer
Curtis Van Dam a former teacher at Sioux Center Christian School pleaded guilty on Friday, Nov. 30 to having inappropriate sexual contact with minors.
“I wanted to have him plead guilty voluntarily avoiding having to have the minor victims testifying,” said Sioux County Attorney, Thomas Kunstle.
In accordance with the plea agreement with the state, Van Dam could be sentenced up to 80 years in prison and would not be eligible for parole until he serves at least 17.5 years of the years.
Van Dam was convicted of the amended charges of one count of sexual abuse in the second degree, five counts of sexual abuse in the third degree, and one count of sexual exploitation by a school employee. The total sentencing could reach up to 80 years.
In 2017, Van Dam had been given over 140 charges, 103 of those being felonies. However, with this plea agreement he is being charged with 7 related counts of sexual abuse and exploitation for fifteen victims and the remaining charges with will be dismissed.
In accordance with the plea agreement Van Dam waivered his right to appeal the conviction.
If Van Dam were to be released, he would be placed on the sex offender list. He would also have to wear an electronic tracking system for at least five years after his release, according to the plea agreement.
In September, Van Dam also pleaded guilty to a federal charge of sexual exploitation of a child. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison. However, with the federal charge he is up or supervised release after serving 12.75 years in prison.
District Judge Steven Andreasen will have to determine if Van Dam’s federal and state sentencing will happen consecutively or at the same time. If they are given consecutively, he will be sentenced to a total of 95 years in prison.
Van Dam’s sentencing is scheduled to be held on January 11, 2019.