116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A 61-year-old Cedar Rapids man was sentenced Tuesday for his second sexual abuse of a child. The recent victim was a 4-year-old.
Timothy John Mehaffy, originally charged with two counts of second-degree sexual abuse, pleaded guilty in July to an amended charge of lascivious acts with a child.
Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden said the plea agreement was that Mehaffy would serve the 10-year sentence in prison and not ask for probation. The original charge could have been enhanced to result in more prison time, if now for the plea agreement and amended charge.
Vander Sanden said the victim and her parents were informed of the plea and decided not to provide a victim impact statement to the court.
After Mehaffy pleaded in July, Vander Sanden also said the victim’s family were in favor of the plea because the child wouldn’t have to testify in court. The child and her family moved out of state.
According to a criminal complaint, the child, during a forensic interview at the UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Child Protection Center, provided details of the Dec. 1, 2018, sexual abuse.
A sleeping bag she identified as having slept in that night was tested by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation crime lab. A DNA profile was developed, and it matched Mehaffy’s DNA.
Mehaffy told authorities in a Dec. 27, 2018, interview that he didn’t think the child would make up such an accusation, which “bothered him. He said he’d been drinking, and it was possible something could have happened but that he couldn’t recall the night’s events.
During sentencing, Mehaffy apologized to his family and the victim and her family. He said he hopes he will get the help he needs while in prison.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Christopher Bruns followed the plea agreement and also ordered Mehaffy to comply with the sex offender registry requirements and serve a special sentence of parole, both for life.
In his first conviction, Mehaffy, originally charged with third-degree sexual abuse in 2004, pleaded to lascivious acts with a child and received probation in 2005.
He was required to be on the sex offender registry for life but asked the court in October 2017 for a modification — to be removed from the registry — a provision added under the 2009 change in Iowa’s sex offender law if an offender meets certain requirements.
Vander Sanden, at the 2017 hearing, didn’t object to the modification because Mehaffy met the requirements and the victim was informed and didn’t object.
Judge Mitchell Turner, in his order, found Mehaffy has been on the registry for more than five years, completed all the sex offender treatment programs, was assessed to be at low risk to reoffend and had no further offenses.
In June, The Gazette found that more than 300 felons have met the requirements and been removed from the Iowa Sex Offender Registry since 2014, when the Iowa Supreme Court gave further guidance to district judges in determining modifications.
The registry, created by state law to deter repeat offenses, generally requires anyone convicted of a sexually related crime against an adult or a minor to register for 10 years or life, depending on the offense. More than 6,000 people are on the state registry.
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