116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man was convicted by a Linn County jury last week for sexually abusing an 18-year-old woman in her home in 2019.
Tanner W. Hart, 24, was convicted of third-degree sexual abuse Friday in Linn County District Court. The jury deliberated more than three hours following a four-day trial.
The woman testified that Hart sexually assaulted her Sept. 19, 2019. The next day she told a friend about it, and the friend encouraged her to report the assault to a Cedar Rapids police school resource officer who was assigned to the Kirkwood Community College campus.
The woman testified that Hart grabbed her by the throat, forced her onto the bed and sexually abused her.
There was no physical evidence of the sexual assault, except for a cellphone video the woman took to show redness on her neck where she was grabbed. The video and still photos from it were shown to the jury.
In a police interview, Hart said he was so intoxicated that he didn’t remember the incident or even being at the woman’s apartment that night, according to testimony. He did not testify at the trial.
Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden said the jury had to be convinced of Hart’s guilt based solely on the victim’s testimony.
“The victim gave a very credible account of the sexual assault and bravely stood up to a vigorous cross-examination by the defense,” Vander Sanden said.
“I am very proud of this young woman who patiently waited for her day in court through the many delays in the trial date due to the pandemic and continued to cooperate with our efforts to bring the offender to justice.”
Hart’s pretrial release was revoked, and he was taken into custody after the verdict pending sentencing, which has not been set.
He faces a mandatory 10 years in prison and will be ordered to be on the sex offender registry and serve a special parole for life.
Hart has another third-degree sexual abuse charge against him involving a different woman, who was 19 when it occurred Nov. 12, 2019, a criminal complaint states. This woman, after reporting the sexual assault to police, went to Mercy Medical Center for medical treatment and a sexual assault forensic evidence kit was collected.
Hart’s DNA was identified when the kit was tested at the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation crime lab in Ankeny, according to the complaint.
A search warrant affidavit stated an investigator attempted to interview Hart on Dec. 10, 2019, about the incident, but he refused.
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