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Former Cedar Rapids school bus attendant gets 11 years

Judge cites mitigating factors in sentencing on low range for sexual exploitation of middle school girls

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Tyler Konigsmark, a 20-year-old former school bus attendant convicted of sexual exploitation of three middle school girls, was sentenced Thursday to 11 years in federal prison.

The sentence, handed down by U.S. District Senior Judge Mark Bennett, was on the low end of the guideline range. Bennett cited mitigating factors in a psychologist’s evaluation: poor judgment, lack of impulse control, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and a low-functioning intellect. He said they outweighed the aggravating factors — three victims ages 12 to 14, and that Konigsmark used his job to gain access to the victims.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Tremmel argued with Bennett about the mitigating factors, asking for a minimum of 15 years in prison.

Tremmel said the evaluation and diagnosis of psychologist Arthur Konar shouldn’t receive much weight because some of it relied on self-reporting from Konigsmark.

Bennett disagreed, saying some of the tests Konar conducted are reliable and valid. He told Tremmel he should have had an expert conduct an evaluation to counter Konar.

Konigsmark, who pleaded guilty in September, admitted during the plea hearing that he sent explicit photos of himself using Snapchat and asked for photos from three girls who rode on his bus route this past April through May while working as an attendant for the Cedar Rapids Community School District.

The bus route picked up students from Harding and Taft middle schools, as well as students from Metro Area Catholic schools.

A plea agreement shows Konigsmark also admitted to having sex with the 12-year-old twice after sending her images.

At a previous hearing, a Hiawatha investigator testified a medical exam showed the girl had injuries associated with sexual acts, and DNA evidence linked Konigsmark.

Konigsmark, during the sentencing Thursday, apologized to the victims, saying he understood this was a serious crime and he takes full responsibility.

“I also want to apologize to the school district, and my family and friends for standing by me,” Konigsmark said.

Several family members and friends of Konigsmark were in the courtroom during sentencing.

No victims’ families attended the hearing and no victim impact statements were submitted.

During the sentencing hearing, Konar testified Konigsmark had a depressive and anxiety disorder, ADHD and functions at a lower intellect. Konar said these factors taken together led to the crime. He determined Konigsmark wasn’t a pedophile and wasn’t “inherently attracted to pubescent girls.”

Konar said Konigsmark had no other such incidents in his background and isn’t likely to commit sex crimes again. He also said Konigsmark was tested in fourth grade, according to school district records, and was functioning at a first-grade level.

On cross examination, Konar admitted that he relied only on Konigsmark’s word as to whether he’s had other relationships with girls.

Konar also acknowledged to Tremmel that Konigsmark’s fourth-grade records indicated he scored higher in math and writing than in reading.

Tremmel also pointed out that, according to Konar’s evaluation, Konigsmark admitted only to sending and receiving the explicit photos, not having sex with the 12-year-old.

Konar said Konigsmark said he tried to have sex with her but couldn’t.

Bennett also sentenced Konigsmark to serve 10 years on supervised release following his prison time. He also is required to register as a sex offender and pay a $5,000 special court fee.

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