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Former Charles City woman guilty of sexual abuse of a child

DES MOINES – A woman formerly of Charles City has been found guilty of felony second degree sexual abuse involving a child and has been sent to prison.

Jill Tjernagel, age 56 with a last address of Jewell, Iowa, was arrested by Hamilton County deputies on June 4, 2014 after a warrant was issued by a judge in that county. She was held on $25,000 cash bond. A written arraignment was filed in court on June 11th, and she pled not guilty. An August 19th trial was set.

The charge of second degree sexual abuse stems from an alleged act on or between about August 2008 and February 20, 2013, in Hamilton County, Iowa. The Iowa Attorney General’s Office says that Tjernagel committed a sex act upon a child under the age of 12 in violation of Iowa codes 709.1(3) and 709.3(2).

Tjernagel claims to be from Charles City originally and lived in Jewel, Iowa in Hamilton county where she claimed to work as a Mortgage Loan Officer at Ames Community Bank.

After a long series of motions and other court proceedings, a jury finally returned a guilty verdict on April 3, 2015. Tjernagel claimed prosecutorial misconduct and attempted to get a new trial, but was refused.  A number of victim impact statements were submitted to the court before sentencing was handed down.

Tjernagel was sentenced to 25 years in prison on September 8, 2015 and was shipped to the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville, Iowa on September 10 by the Hamilton county sheriff’s office.  She must also pay $25,972.75 in fines, court fees and other costs.  Additionally, she must register as a sex offender.

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