The former North Idaho College Financial Aid Director accused of offering students grant money in exchange for sexual favors entered a not guilty plea on Tuesday.
Bekken was arrested in February on suspicion of having committed five felonies, including attempted misuse of public funds, attempted procurement of prostitution, burglary, using a computer in a scheme to defraud, and bribery.
On February 2nd, 2015 NIC School Resource Officer Gus Wessel was alerted by the FBI about a post on Craigslist in the casual encounters section. The post talked about a proposition for NIC students. The proposition was for grant money in exchange for sexual favors. After being notified by the FBI that there were Craigslist ads targeting NIC students, the Coeur d'Alene Police Department set up a sting operation. Using a fake student account, they set up a meeting for sex in exchange for financial aid money. Officers say on February 2nd Bekken was the one who showed up to that meeting. After a 16 day investigation Bekken was arrested and charged with five felonies.
Coeur d' Alene Police Chief Lee White stated, "NIC School Resource Officer Gus Wessel worked closely with the college and cooperating law enforcement agencies to investigate this matter in an efficient and proactive manner. The relationship between the police department and North Idaho College has proven extremely valuable to ensure the safety and well-being of the campus and the community as a whole."
NIC says Bekken was with the school for six years as the Director of Financial Aid. He was terminated on February 6th, 2015.
Officers say Bekken admitted that he had the idea to offer financial aid money for sex a few semesters ago. He also told officers that while he was working for the Grand Canyon University in Arizona, he would often meet people on Craigslist for casual sexual encounters. These admissions have led prosecutors to believe that this type of behavior has been going on for months.
After Bekken's arrest, an NIC student came forward and told police that in exchange for financial aid money, she gave Bekken sexual photos of herself.
After his plea hearing on Tuesday, Bekken is scheduled to head to trial in September.