CEDAR RAPIDS – A Iowa man who maintained a long term online grooming relationship with a minor teenager via social media, which ended with him secretly driving her to Iowa and hiding her in a park while her parents tried to locate her, was sentenced today to more than ten years in federal prison.
Randy Abels, age 27, from Lowden, Iowa received the prison term after a guilty plea to receipt of child pornography.
At the guilty plea, Abels admitted he knowingly received visual depictions of child pornography from the victim. At sentencing, the judge noted that Abels was a “predator” who “kidnapped” the victim from her home after grooming her online. Abels pursued the victim and physically transported her from Minnesota to Iowa after being previously caught and confronted by her parents. In an attempt to avoid being caught, he hid her at a park.
Abels was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court C.J. Williams. Abels was sentenced to 121 months’ imprisonment and fined $100. He must also serve a ten-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.
Abels 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 Liz Dupuich and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Cedar County Sherriff’s Department.