The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Family testifies in alleged sexual abuse case against husband of former Coralville city councilor

Jeffrey Dodds allegedly sexually abused a child under the age of 14 in 2021 at a daycare he ran with his wife Jill Dodds.
Shaely Odean
The Johnson County Courthouse is seen in Iowa City on Sept. 21, 2023.

The parents of a child who was allegedly sexually abused by former Coralville City Councilor Jill Dodds’ husband, Jeffrey Dodds, testified at the Johnson County Courthouse Wednesday.

Jeffrey Dodds pleaded not guilty to three counts of second-degree sexual abuse, which is a class B felony. If he is convicted, each charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 17.5 years in prison with a maximum of 25 years. The jury trial started Tuesday.

The case involves a daycare Jeffery Dodds ran with his wife, Jill Dodds, called Simple Abundance Child Care in Coralville. The child, who is under 14 years old, attended the daycare from June 2020 to November 2021, according to testimony from their mother.

Simple Abundance is an in-home daycare at the Dodds’ residence on 12th Avenue, providing daycare services for a maximum of 16 children.

The sexual abuse allegedly took place in June 2021. The child took the witness stand in a separate room from Jeffery Dodds on Wednesday and said he touched them inappropriately in the bathroom of the daycare and the upstairs bedroom many times.

The child’s father testified that there were about 10 times he picked up his child, and Jeffrey Dodds was the only adult present at the daycare. The father attributed Jill Dodds’ absence to her undergoing knee surgery in June 2021.

RELATED: Missing Iowa City 12-year-old found after more than two weeks

The father of the child testified that they were told Jeffrey Dodds would be the primary caregiver while Jill Dodds recovered from surgery.

Jami Stevens, who is a social worker for Iowa Health and Human Services, testified she was involved with daycare compliance at Simple Abundance. She said there was only one complaint she remembered handling, which had to do with a dog bite at the daycare.

Jill Dodds resigned from Coralville City Council in April 2022 after her husband was arrested earlier that month. Jill Dodds served on the council since 2012. Jeffrey Dodds posted bail in the amount of $40,000 a day after he was arrested, according to court documents.

Simple Abundance Child Care is now closed.

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About the Contributors
Jack Moore
Jack Moore, News Editor
Jack Moore is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication. He is from Cedar Rapids Iowa. Along with working at The Daily Iowan, Jack works for the University of Iowa's UI-REACH program as a Resident Assistant. UI-REACH is a program for students with learning, cognitive, and behavioral disabilities intended to provide support to these students throughout their college experience. Additionally, Jack is involved in Iowa City's live music scene as he plays bass for local Iowa City band "Two Canes."
Shaely Odean
Shaely Odean, Photojournalist
Shaely Odean is a transfer student at the University of Iowa, currently in her third year. She is pursuing double majors in Journalism and Strategic Communications, as well as Sustainability Sciences. Shaely works as a photojournalist for The Daily Iowan, and her passion lies in environmental issues. Before joining the University of Iowa, she attended Kirkwood Community College, where she served as the photo editor for the Kirkwood Communique.