Jefferson City, IA
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Jefferson City serves as the government seat of Greene County, Iowa and has about 4,100 residents. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and throughout Greene County. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking. Prostitution related violence has also occurred within the county, and some cases have also involved child sexual abuse materials (CSAM, often referred to in state laws as “child pornography). For example, a case in January, 2023 resulted in a wide range of charges against two individuals that included lascivious acts with a child, enticing a minor under the age of 16 for sexual purpose, continuous sexual abuse of a child, prostitution, third-degree sexual abuse of a child of the same household, sexual exploitation of a minor, possession of drug paraphernalia, domestic abuse assault while displaying a weapon, willful injury, solicitation of lascivious acts with a child, sexual abuse with the child victim coerced by person in authority. One of the defendants had previously been convicted of third-degree kidnapping, third-degree sexual abuse, assault with intent to commit sexual abuse-injury, and two counts of first-offense purchase or possession of a medium depicting the exploitation of a minor.
Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. Demand reduction tactics used in the town include the arrest of sex buyers, the public disclosure of their identities, and the loss of employment. For example, in May 2022, a Jefferson City man was terminated from his position with the city following an alleged shooting and prostitution incident. According to the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy began an investigation in Henderson Park. Court documents show that three female juveniles were at the park to go on a walk. The minors encountered a man who appeared to be drunk and asked one of the girls to perform a sex act in exchange for money. When the victim declined, the man took out a handgun, threatened to shoot, then physically tried to grab the victims. He then shot the handgun in their direction as they drove away. The girls left the scene and reported to a parent, who contacted law enforcement. Court documents show that 24 shell casings were found at the scene. Authorities executed a search warrant of the suspect’s home where the same handgun was found and seized. The man admitted to firing the weapon and was arrested and charged with a Class C Felony for intimidation with a dangerous weapon-injury or provoked, a Class D Felony for prostitution, an aggravated misdemeanor for assault while displaying a dangerous weapon, a serious misdemeanor for false imprisonment, and a simple misdemeanor for reckless use of a firearm.
In November, 2022, two people formerly from Jefferson were arrested and faced multiple felony charges related to sex abuse against a child, as well as one misdemeanor charge for prostitution. According to Jefferson Police, an investigation started in June, 2022, when a witness notified officers of a possible domestic abuse incident at a residence in Jefferson. The evidence supported several felony charges against a 37-year-old man, including controlled substance violation, first degree harassment, and domestic abuse assault-injury or mental illness, as well as “continuous sexual abuse of a child” and “enticing a minor under 16 for sexual purpose.” The man had a no contact order between him and the victim, who alleged that the man sexually abuse her and others. The man was also charged with felonies for third degree sex abuse-child victim member of the same household-second offense, lascivious acts with a child, sexual exploitation of a minor, and misdemeanors for prostitution, violation of a no contact order, first offense for sex offender registry violation, a no contact order violation, possession of drug paraphernalia and first offense for domestic abuse assault. Two suspects were booked into the Greene County Jail, and their identities included in news reports.
Arrest of Sex Buyer; Employment Loss; Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.raccoonvalleyradio.com/jefferson-city-employee-terminated-shooting-prostitution-investigation (2022)
- https://www.raccoonvalleyradio.com/arrested-for-alleged-sex-abuse-incident-in-jefferson (2022)
Background on Local Prostitution, Sex Trafficking, Related CSAM, Violence:
- https://atg.sd.gov/docs/Joint AG Letter to Backpage.com.pdf (2011)
- https://www.timesrepublican.com/iowa-house-approves-bill-toughening-pimping-penalties/ (2014)
- https://theperrynews.com/jefferson-pair-sought-on-sex-crimes-woman-possibly-in-danger/ (2023)
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