Student Testifies Former Waterloo Teacher Poured Syrup On Him In Bathtub

By Jeff Reinitz, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

Larry Twigg listens to jury instructions during his trial at the Black Hawk Courthouse Tuesday, April 5, 2011, in Waterloo, Iowa. Twigg, a former Waterloo teacher, is accused of lascivious conduct with a student. (MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor)

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By Richard Pratt

WATERLOO, Iowa - A former student of Larry Twigg’s left the witness stand on the verge of tears after testifying how the teacher poured chocolate syrup and broke eggs on him while he was nude in a bathtub in the mid 1990s.

“I didn’t quite understand why at the time,” the man, now in his 30s, told jurors Tuesday as trial started in Black Hawk County District Court for Twigg, 53, of Waterloo.

“It was a lot of awkward silence, and a big smile on his face … he watched and smiled,” the former student said, who was 15 and 16 years old during the two encounters.

The trial continued 9 a.m. today.

The Gazette is not identifying the man because of the nature of the offense. The Gazette also declined to photograph him and other alleged victims who testified Tuesday during the first day of Twigg’s trial on five counts of lascivious conduct with a minor — for acts committed against a then-teenage boy between December 2009 and January 2010.

The charges allege that Twigg used his position of authority to “force, persuade or coerce a minor, with or without consent, to disrobe or partially disrobe for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of either of them.”

The man was one of three former Waterloo West High students who testified about bizarre behavior they experienced from Twigg, then a computer science teacher at West, after accepting invitations to his home.

Twigg has pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charges. He is expected to use a diminished capacity defense. Defense attorney James Metcalf declined to outline his case with opening statements, but has said in court there was no evidence the actions were sexually motivated.

Assistant Black Hawk County Attorney Dustin Lies said there was a sexual motive. He said Twigg used his position of authority to coerce a student to partially undress.

Shortly before trial, Judge Jon Fister dismissed a sixth count involving the student from 1995 because the statute of limitations had passed.

Still, the jury was allowed to hear about the 1995 incidents and from another student regarding a summer 2009 incident that wasn’t charged because the youth was 18 and not a minor at the time. Their testimony was used by the state to show a pattern.

The 1995 student, who described Twigg as one of the top three teachers in his life until it “took a turn for the worse,” said he withheld his experiences until he read news accounts about the allegations against the teacher in 2010.

“This is 15 years of shame and repression and guilt,” he said. He said he could have accepted it if he was the only victim but was shocked to find there were more.

“How many other ones of us could there be?” he asked during his testimony.

The three former students all told similar stories.

Twigg asked them to come over to his house, sometimes to make up class assignments, other times to earn some extra money with chores around the house. When they arrived, they would be given a chance to earn a bonus.

For the 1995 student, it was doubling his money with the egg or chocolate syrup showers. He said Twigg told him it was a way to learn humility for later in life.

The choices had evolved 15 years later, according to the other two students. They said Twigg told them they could avoid making up class work by playing the Zuma Deluxe, a computer game.

“If I beat a level, I got an assignment” completed, said the 2009-2010 student — the subject of the criminal charges. “If I lost a life, I had to take off a piece of clothing.”

Loss of clothing could be avoided by picking tasks from a list. They involved sit-ups and pushups while holding eggs, performing snow angels in boxer shorts, spanking and “dessert mix,” which involved the chocolate syrup.

They could also earn money with tasks from the list.

The 2009-2010 student recounted how Twigg poured the dessert ingredients into his boxers for $25.

“How did you feel about that?” Lies asked.

“Degraded, I guess,” the student told jurors. He said he also performed the snow angels, and Twigg spanked him while he was clad in shorts.

He said school officials learned about the incidents after he told a friend about the visits.

The Waterloo Board of Education fired Twigg last spring.

Also taking the stand on Tuesday was Cora Turner, executive director of student services for the Waterloo School District.

She said Twigg admitted to the incidents with the 2009-2010 student when he was confronted about it. He said it was a way to motivate the student to do better, but admitted it was foolish and he was sorry, according to Turner’s testimony.

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