Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

May 2, 2012

Former City Council candidate found guilty of prostitution

By Kyle Ocker
Daily Iowegian


Eighty-four year old Ben Clifford Dawson was found guilty of one count of prostitution in the Appanoose County Courthouse on April 27.

He is set for sentencing on May 11 at 9 a.m. In Iowa, an aggravated misdemeanor is punishable by up to two years imprisonment and a fine from $625-$6,250.

Dawson, who was a candidate for Centerville City Council last fall, was arrested by the Centerville Police Department on Nov. 1 for one count of prostitution and one count of intent to commit sexual abuse, both aggravated misdemeanors.

The intent to commit sexual abuse charge was not tried in Dawson’s trial by minutes last week.

Dawson was accused by Melissa Drew of offering sexual acts to reduce the debt that Drew owed him on June 29.

In the criminal affidavit filed by Centerville Police Officer Cody Jellison, he stated that Drew received a loan from “the defendant [Dawson] on June 29th and at the time of receiving the money the defendant grabbed Drew and began to kiss her neck against her will. The defendant also offered to reduce the debt that Drew owed him by requesting she allow him to perform sexual favors upon her for his pleasure on several occasions.”

The affidavit also stated that the same sexual actions or requests had been recorded in past reports from at least three separate former female tenants.

Dawson entered a not guilty plea to both counts on Dec. 21. He requested a trial on minutes on March 2.