The Iowa Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for a former Waterloo teacher who was convicted of five counts of lascivious conduct with a minor. The case began in 2009 when Larry Twigg invited a 17-year-old student called D-W in court proceedings to visit his home to catch up on assignments in his computer class.
Twigg told D-W he could play a video game and would get credit for an assignment for each level of the game he completed, but would have to take off an article of clothing for each level he lost. D-W was later asked back to Twigg’s home and this time had to complete activities from a list that Twigg provided.
The list included naked spankings and getting into a bathtub and allowing Twigg to pour chocolate sauce, eggs and milk on him in what he called a dessert mix. Twigg did not deny any of the things happened, and said he did them as motivation of D-W, and not for sexual arousal.
Two other students who said they had undergone similar experiences with Twigg 15 years earlier came forward and were allowed to testify at Twigg’s trial. Twigg appealed the guilty verdicts, saying the testimony of the other two students should not have been allowed. The Court of Appeals agreed, saying the two students’ testimony was not proper because it did not show Twigg’s motive or intent.
The court said improper testimony invited the jury to not only punish Twigg for his conduct with D-W, but also with the other two students. The ruling said the properly admitted evidence was far from overwhelming that Twigg’s conduct was sexually motivated.
See the complete ruling here: Twigg ruling PDF