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Iowa Sex Offenses and Why They are Different

In Iowa, sex-related crimes are classified as felonies or misdemeanors, and perpetrators face conviction in court. Punishments for sex offenses include varying lengths of imprisonment and fines, depending on the type of crime committed. Sex offenses are different from other crimes in Iowa because aside from sentence, convicts are required to register with the sex offenders registry as sex offenders for a minimum of 10 years or for life in cases of violent sex crimes. The registration comes with a stigma from the general public as name and other details are available as information to the public, thereby limiting job opportunities and civic rights.

What is a Iowa Sex Crime?

Sex crime in Iowa refers to sexual abuse and injury that results from sexual abuse. According to the provisions of the Iowa State Code, sexual crimes include:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Rape
  • Lascivious acts with a Child
  • Stalking, if sexually motivated
  • Sexual conduct directed toward a minor, solicitation of a minor to engage in an illegal sex act, practice prostitution sexual performance, and involving sexual contact with a young person, rental, or sale of hard-core pornography.
  • Assault with intent to commit sexual abuse
  • Telephone and other media dissemination and exhibition of obscene material to minors
  • Criminal transmission of HIV
  • Enticing a minor
  • Incest against a minor
  • Murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, burglary, or manslaughter that involves sexual abuse or attempted sexual abuse, sexual exploitation by counselor, therapist, or school employee

What are the Different Types of Sex Offenses?

Under Iowa law, sexual abuse is any sexual activity committed against another with force against the victim’s will. Or at times when the victim cannot give consent (whether asleep, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, has a mental disability, or is a child under the age of 14). The different sex offenses in Iowa, the severity as well as penalties as provided by the Iowa sexual assault laws includes;

Sexual Abuse in the First Degree: In Iowa, first-degree sexual abuse is a Class A felony and is punishable by life imprisonment. A person is guilty of sexual abuse in the first degree if, in the process of committing sexual abuse, causes serious injury to another. Grievous harm can pose the risk of death, causing irreversible disfigurement or long term impairment.

Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree: Second-degree sexual abuse is a Class B felony, and it is punishable by up to 25 years imprisonment. This sexual offense takes place when in the course of committing the crime;

  • The defendant uses or threatens to employ force that would inflict injuries or cause death.
  • The defendant shows a weapon in a threatening manner
  • The victim is not up to 12 years old
  • The defendant got assistance from one or more people, and the act is committed by using force or going against the victim’s will.

Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree: Sexual abuse in the third degree comprises several crimes. It is a class C felony and is punishable by up to ten years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000 to $10,000. Sexual abuse in the third degree encompasses any sexual act performed by the use of force or against the other person’s will. It also covers sexual activities between persons who are not cohabiting as husband and wife, and if any of the following are true;

  • The other party is suffering from mental incapacitation, which obstructs giving consent.
  • The victim is about twelve or thirteen years old
  • The perpetrator is in a position of authority and uses the authority to coerce the victim to submit.
  • The sex offender is four years older or more than the victim
  • The sexual predator is a member of the same household as the victim

Lascivious Acts with a Child: It is against the law for any person that has attained the age of sixteen to perform any of the following acts with a child for kindling or satisfying sexual desires;

  • Fondle or touch the thighs or genitals of a child
  • Coerce a child to fondle or touch the person’s genital
  • Cause the touching of the person’s pelvic region to any part of the body of a child.
  • Lobby a child to indulge in sex or arrange a sex act with a minor
  • Inflict pain upon a child or permit a child to inflict pain on a person.

Persons found committing any of the first three acts above are guilty of Class C felony, which is punishable by a fine between $1,000 and $10,000 and up to ten years of incarceration. The last two offenses are Class D felony, and the penalty includes payment of a fine from $750 to $7,500 and up to five years imprisonment.

Indecent Exposure: A person who exposes genitals or pubes to a stranger or another person who is not a spouse, or commits sexual acts in the presence of a third person, commits a serious misdemeanor. Most especially if the person does so with the intent of arousing or satisfying either party and is aware or reasonably aware that the act is offensive to the viewer.

Lascivious Conduct with a Minor: It is an offense against the law for an individual who is eighteen years or older and is in a position of authority over a minor to force or persuade a juvenile with or without consent, for kindling or meeting sexual desires. It is also unlawful to:

  • Touch the clothing covering the private areas of the body.
  • Fondle or touch the inner thigh or groin of the minor.
  • Solicit or permit the minor to engage in any sexual activity with the person.

Sex Offender Levels of Classification in Iowa

In Iowa, persons convicted of a sex offense is must register under the state as a sex offender if the abuser resides, is employed, or attends school in Iowa. Each offender convicted of a sex offense is classified as a Tier I, Tier II, or Tier III offender. The tiers contain sex offenses in the order of severity. Also, the classification system determines the frequency of the verification of relevant information.

In tally with the provisions of the Iowa Sex Offender Registry Laws, Tier 1 offenses are:

  • Sexual abuse in the second degree if committed by a person under the age of fourteen
  • Sexual abuse in the third degree if committed by a person under the age of fourteen
  • Indecent exposure
  • Sexually motivated harassment
  • Sexually motivated stalking
  • Transmitting information about a minor to aid criminal sexual conduct
  • Misleading domains or images on the internet
  • Possessing materials containing child pornography
  • Allowing minors to places where nude materials are exhibited
  • Rental or sales of hard-core pornography
  • Possessing or receiving child pornography

Tier II offenses include the following:

  • Lascivious acts with a child
  • Sexual coercion of a minor
  • False imprisonment of a minor
  • Assault with the intent of sexual abuse
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Exploitation by a counselor, a therapist, or a school employee
  • Incest committed against a dependent adult
  • Incest committed against a minor
  • Production of sexually explicit depictions
  • Movement of a minor for illicit sexual activities
  • Video voyeurism of a juvenile

Tier III sex offenses in Iowa include:

  • Murder while committing sexual abuse
  • Voluntary manslaughter, if the violation was sexually motivated
  • Involuntary manslaughter, if the act was sexually motivated
  • Sexual abuse in the first degree
  • Sexual abuse in the second degree
  • Sexual abuse in the third degree
  • Lascivious acts with a child
  • Burglary in the third degree if the offense was sexually motivated.
  • Attempted burglary if the action was sexually motivated
  • Sexual transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Human trafficking to commit sexual abuse
  • Sexual exploitation of a minor
  • Enticing a minor to commit sexual abuse
  • Purchase or sale of an individual for sexual purposes
  • Indecent contact with a child under thirteen years of age

How Do I Find A Sex Offender Near Me in Iowa?

The Iowa Sex Offender law states that all sex offenders in the state must register with the local authorities for identification. Sex offenders, as described by Iowa code § 692A.102, are registered in the state Sex Offender Registry, which also permits online access to obtain information about sex abusers in Iowa. Locally, interested persons can locate sex offenders through the sheriff’s office or local law enforcement agencies through mail or in-person requests. Parties can also visit the Iowa Department of Public Safety in person to inquire about sex offenders.

Iowa Sex Offender Registry

Iowa Sex Offender Registry permits access to sex offender information when requestors input full name and postal code or an advanced search option. Setting up the registry aims to protect members of the public from potential harm from repeatedly convicted, recalcitrant, and violent offenders. And also serve as an investigative tool for law enforcement agencies.

To search on the registry, interested parties must enter the full name of the offender or at least three characters of the name as well as the postal code, then click on submit. The advanced search option offers a wide range of searches and requires filling more information to help navigate the search. The map search allows inquirers to track sex criminals with a particular geographical region. Other search methods include a telephone number, vehicle license plate number, and email address. The registry contains the full name, gender, address, vehicle plate numbers, full-body description biodata, including eye color, hair color, age, weight, and height of persons guilty of sex crimes in Iowa.

For personalized notification, phone calls, and messages about a particular offender, interested persons must first register, read and agree to terms of usage on the website. Individuals convicted by a federal judge and living in Iowa must register in the state. The registry also includes persons convicted in another state but who wish to live, work, or go to school in Iowa.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What are the Sex Offender Restrictions in Iowa?

Below are restrictions for sex offenders in Iowa, as stated in Iowa code § 692A.113–116:

  • An offender convicted of an aggravated sexual offense against a minor cannot reside within 2,000 feet of real property that consists of a child care facility or school or other locations where minors are present.
  • Convicts required to register on the sex offenders registry for a crime involving a minor are also subject to a 300-feet exclusion area in certain public areas. Such individuals must not be “loitering” (as defined by Iowa Code section 692A.101(17)) on the real property of a school, daycare center, or public library, or “any place primarily intended for the use of children. Sexual abusers can only be allowed in school with the written permission of the school administrator or school administrator’s designee or when enrolled as a student at the school.
  • Sex criminals cannot loiter within 300 feet of the premises of any place intended primarily for the use of minors, including but not a children’s play area, a recreational or sport-related activity area, a swimming pool or wading area, or a beach available to the public.
  • A sex offender convicted of a sex offense against a minor cannot work or volunteer at any fair or carnival. Such a person must not be on the premises of any children’s arcade, an amusement center, recreational area for sports or relaxation, swimming pool, wadding areas having coin or token operated devices for entertainment.
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