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Iowa man who groomed vulnerable children using gifts, drugs and booze dating back to the 1970’s sent to prison

This news story was published on March 11, 2021.
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SIOUX CITY – A man who possessed child pornography and admitted previously grooming vulnerable children with gifts, drugs, and alcohol in order to sexually abuse them was sentenced March 9, 2021, to 13 years in federal prison.

Paul Frances Hicks, age 65, from Spirit Lake, Iowa, received the prison term after a September 22, 2020, guilty plea to one count of possession of child pornography.

At the plea hearing, Hicks admitted that on September 8, 2016, he possessed visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including a depiction involving a prepubescent minor or a minor who had not attained 12 years of age. During the execution of a search warrant at Hick’s residence on September 8, 2016, law enforcement seized an HP laptop computer. The computer was forensically examined and contained at least 146 images of child pornography.

Hicks was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand. Several former victims were present at the sentencing. At the sentencing, Hicks admitted to grooming multiple children since the 1970s with gifts, drugs, and alcohol to sexually abuse them. Hicks tended to prey on families experiencing turmoil and offered to babysit the children in order to gain access to his victims. Hicks was sentenced to 156 months’ imprisonment. He must also serve a 5-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

Acting United States Attorney Sean Berry stated “Our community is made safer every time a child predator is sentenced to prison. We thank our law enforcement partners for their dedication and good work on this case.”

Hicks is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mikala Steenholdt and investigated by The Iowa Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the FBI Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations, the Spirit Lake Police Department, and the Dickinson County Attorney’s Office.


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2 Responses to Iowa man who groomed vulnerable children using gifts, drugs and booze dating back to the 1970’s sent to prison

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 13, 2021 at 8:46 am

    The cogs of justice turned a little slow as joe would say!

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 11, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    156 months = 13 years. IT’S NOT ENOUGH!