116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A 61-year-old Cedar Rapids man, previously convicted of sexual abuse and who was able to have his name removed from the Iowa Sex Offender Registry, pleaded guilty Friday to molesting a 4-year-old child about a year later.
Timothy John Mehaffy, originally charged with two counts of second-degree sexual abuse, pleaded guilty in Linn County District Court to an amended charge of lascivious acts with a child.
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, according to a criminal complaint.
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.
A search warrant affidavit filed Jan. 4, 2019, states the child was 4 years old at the time.
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.
Mehaffy faces 10 years in prison. He also will be required to be on the sex offender registry and serve a special sentence of parole for life.
Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden said, as part of the plea agreement, that Mehaffy would have to serve the prison term and couldn’t ask for probation.
“The victim’s family favored the outcome so the victim wouldn’t have to appear and testify in court,” Vander Sanden said. “The child and her family have moved out of state since the charge was filed.”
Mehaffy’s sentencing hasn’t yet been set.
This is Mehaffy’s second plea to lascivious acts with a child. He was originally charged with third-degree sexual abuse in 2004 and received probation in 2005.
Mehaffy 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.
Sixth Judicial District 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.
Last month, 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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