Idaho College Admin Swapped Grants For Sex, Police Say

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Blake Neff Reporter
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A former administrator at an Idaho community college faces five felony charges after police say he offered students financial aid in exchange for sex.

Joseph Bekken was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of soliciting prostitution and misusing public funds. Bekken was the financial aid director for North Idaho College, a 7,800-student institution in Cour d’Alene.

According to police, Bekken, who is married with three children, posted an advertisement in the “Casual Encounters” section of Craigslist.

“Hello, I have a proposition for NIC students. Email me and we can discuss, M4W, M4M, M4MW,” his message said. The abbreviations stood for “man for woman,” “man for man,” and “man for man and woman,” and signaled that Bekken was interested in sex with both men and women, including a potential threesome.

The post was spotted by police, who then collaborated with NIC to create a fake student, “Sheryl,” whom officers used to contact Bekken.

“I have some grant money that i can get applied to your account. I just look for some fun in return,” Bekken told an undercover officer, according to The Spokesman-Review.

After a series of messages, police say, Bekken transferred $587 in NIC grant money to “Sheryl’s” account, and then arranged to meet her Feb. 2 at an apartment for sex.

Instead of finding a hot date, however, Bekken found himself in hot water as the police detained him. Police released Bekken in order to engage in further investigation, and then finally arrested him just over two weeks later.

According to police, Bekken admitted that this wasn’t the first time he cruised on Craigslist for sex, although he claims this is the first time he offered college grant money. However, police said they were looking into another transaction of over $2,000.

Education officials in Boise have expressed shock over the allegations, with state board of education member Don Soltman seeking to assure the public that Bekken’s actions were an “anomaly.”

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Blake Neff