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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - A former Four Oaks youth counselor pleaded guilty Thursday to sexually abusing and exploiting a 14-year-old boy in 2018.
Danielle V. Hook, 29, formerly of Marion, pleaded in writing to amended charges of third-degree sexual abuse and sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist. The Iowa Supreme Court is allowing written pleas to felonies during the pandemic.
Sixth Judicial District Senior Judge Robert Sosalla accepted the pleas Thursday and also ordered Hook to register as a sex offender for 10 years and serve a special sentence of lifetime parole because these are sexual offenses.
Hook pleaded to two sexually predatory offenses, so if she commits future sex offenses, she will face penalty enhancements - more prison time.
According to the plea agreement, the prosecutor and defense attorney will recommend Hook, who has no criminal history, be sentenced to probation. She faced up to 10 years on the sexual abuse charge and five years on the exploitation charge.
Sosalla set Hook's sentencing for May 18. She may be required to pay restitution, which also will be addressed at the same hearing.
The other remaining charge of harboring a runaway will be dismissed at sentencing, as part of this plea deal.
Hook had sexual contact with the teenager from July 1, 2017, through Nov. 30, 2018, while she was employed as a counselor and in a position of authority over male youths at Four Oaks, 1341 Bertram St. in Cedar Rapids, according to a criminal complaint.
After Hook was fired from Four Oaks, it was discovered the teen was living with her in Marion when juvenile authorities were searching for him, according to an investigation by the Iowa Department of Human Services and Juvenile Court Services.
Investigators also discovered Hook gave birth to the teenager's child, which was confirmed by a DNA test, the complaint stated. The teen is now 16, according to authorities.
A search warrant obtained last year by The Gazette showed the Linn County Sheriff's Office was contacted by Chad Deahl, with Linn County Juvenile Court, about a possible 'sex trafficking and sex abuse.”
Deahl supervised a 17-year-old who was discharged from Four Oaks in December 2018. After the teen attempted suicide by overdose last year, Deahl learned the 17-year-old had been roommates with the 14-year-old at the facility.
The 17-year-old said he and the younger teen had sex with Hook in the basement of a cottage at Four Oaks.
Marion police on Feb. 11, 2019, found the 14-year-old 'hiding” in Hook's back bedroom. The teen was taken to the Story County Juvenile Facility, according to the warrant. Hook was arrested in Story County last July.
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