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Small City, Big Charges In Oelwein

OELWEIN, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- People in Oelwein are shocked after the city's mayor, Jason Manus was arrested on five counts of sexual abuse.

The Fayette County Sheriff's Office conducted a month-long investigation that ended with Manus in jail Monday night.

The alleged abuse happened in 2010, well before Mayor Manus took office, but some people Monday say they want him out as soon as possible.

Up and down the small Oelwein streets, conversation normally doesn't involve five counts of sexual abuse.

"Obviously it strikes harder than it would in a bigger town," said Sarah Lewis, who has lived in Oelwein for 12 years. "It's a very unfortunate thing but it's things like this that brings the community together."

"I really do feel for the people of Oelwein having something like this happen with the position that this person holds," said Fayette County Sheriff Marty Fisher.

Monday night's City Council meeting saw limited discussion about what brought at least one sign and plenty of people to City Hall.

"We can't really discuss this because according to Iowa code it has to be on our agenda for 24 hours for open meetings law," said Mayor pro tem Peggy Sherrets.

Pedro Velez says his less than 6,500 person town is in a tough spot.

"The town is gonna be divided," said Velez. "There are gonna be people who say he couldn't have done it. There are others that are gonna say hang him, get rid of him."

But in the coming days, Sarah Lewis says she wants action from the very leaders whose hands were tied.

"Just so that the community knows that they're there for us, that they're supporting us, that they have our best interests in mind," said Lewis.

"That's all you can really ask for he's a person of power here in the community and now as I said, it's going to tear this town apart," said Velez.

Pedro says he has two small girls, and that while Mayor Manus is innocent until proven guilty, Pedro doesn't mind knowing that for at least Monday night, Manus is in jail.

"Obviously there was something there that warranted them to come and arrest him," said Velez.

The Office of Mayor is still technically filled by Jason Manus until he either resigns or the city council removes him.

All that can be done now is to wait and see how that plays out over the coming days and weeks.
 
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