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  Former Teacher Charged with Molesting Boy in Wisconsin

The Courier [Waterloo IA]
May 11, 2006

Des Moines (AP) --- A former Epworth teacher is accused of molesting one of his students more than 30 years ago in Wisconsin.

Dale Soppe, 70, faces up to 10 years in prison after being charged Monday in Barron County, Wis., with indecent behavior with a child.

The Barron County sheriff's office investigated the case after one of Soppe's former students -- a 49-year-old Hillsdale, Wis., resident -- accused Soppe of molesting him in 1968 and 1969. The former student said the molestation started in the Western Dubuque School District in Epworth and continued the next year in Barron County.

"I think it's time that he carries his burden," said the former student, who The Associated Press will not name for privacy reasons.

"It's important for those of us victims that can do it to come forward. In some cases the punishment to the perpetrator is less important than us telling our story."

Soppe, who now lives in Fairfield, can only be charged in Wisconsin because Iowa is enforcing the statute of limitations on the accusations.

The former student claims there were between 50 to 100 incidents of indecent behavior -- some occurring on school basketball trips and others behind Soppe's desk while other children were in the classroom.

Soppe is also accused of indecent behavior at the boy's home in Barron County.

In a written statement, Soppe acknowledged he had visited the boy's home but did not recall exactly what happened. "Any pain I caused there I am very sorry," Soppe wrote.

Soppe, who wrote two books and later left teaching to become a therapist, studied for the priesthood for several years, according to biographical information in one of his books.

The former student said he called Soppe two years ago because he had lingering questions. According to the complaint filed in Barron County, Soppe said he had also been sexually molested as a child.

The former student now has three daughters -- and he wants them to know the dangers they may face in the coming years.

"What I want for (Soppe) is for the general public to know what he's done," he said. "I want him watched. It's to protect the children; it's too late to protect me. I think the fact that the public will know will be more damaging to him than prison time."

Soppe is scheduled for a court appearance in Barron County on June 21.

 
 

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