The third-degree sexual abuse trial of a former Melcher-Dallas High School teacher has been postponed until December.
David Loren Bennett, 40, was arrested on the charge in January. According to court records, one of his female students came to Bennett to ask about extra credit on Nov. 11, 2010. They were alone in his science lab at MDHS. The alleged victim told Marion County Sheriff's Deputy Matt Boender and a Melcher-Dallas Police Officer that he gave her some problems to work on.
The student says Bennett then asked her what was wrong. She told him she was sore from basketball practice. Bennett is said to have begun rubbing her legs. Eventually, he allegedly put his hand in her pants, pulled them down and assaulted her. The student says she felt she was being held against her will, as he was between her and the door. She told law enforcement she escaped and went to her study hall.
Law enforcement officials also spoke with two other students, who corroborated the victim's story. The victim told another school employee and reported what had happened.
The victim's parents met with law enforcement the day of the incident. Parents were advised to take the victim to the Knoxville Hospital and Clinics to have medical professionals perform sexual assault tests. This was completed, and the data collected was sent to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation laboratory.
The DCI found two separate DNA strains through the tests. One was assumed to belong to the victim, and the other was male. Saliva is said to have been transferred to the victim from the defendant. The sheriff's office brought Bennett in to submit a DNA sample. When tested by the DCI, Bennett's saliva allegedly matched the male DNA sample.
In a motion filed Aug. 1, defense attorney J. Keith Rigg said that the state had not provided the defense team any DNA testing data. With the trial scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 16, prior to the motion, the defense felt there was insufficient time to review the DNA data.
The prosecution and defense agreed to continue the trial. Bennett had previously waived his right a speedy trial.
The trial is now set for Dec. 13 at 9 a.m. A pretrial conference, which will include hearings on motions before the court, is scheduled for Oct. 12 at 9:30 a.m.