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Marion man sentenced to 16 years for sex abuse of 14-year-old
Victim says she ‘fears’ him being out and a danger to other minors
CEDAR RAPIDS — A 28-year-old Marion man was sentenced last week to 16 years in prison for forcing his 14-year-old neighbor into a sexual act in exchange for internet access. Police also found child pornography on his phone.
Cody James Ruden pleaded in November to third-degree sexual abuse, a felony. He also pleaded to two counts of solicitation of a felony - sex abuse, and 14 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, all aggravated misdemeanors.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Ian Thornhill sentenced him to the maximum term of 16 years, which the prosecution recommended.
According to a criminal complaint, the 14-year-old and her mother were neighbors of Ruden in April 2021 when the girl needed internet, which she didn’t have, to do her school work. Ruden offered her access in exchange for sex acts.
Assistant Linn County Attorney Rene Schulte said Ruden tried to entice her to come back two other times but she refused.
During the investigation, police also found 13 images of child pornography on his phone, the complaint stated. The images were of children toddler age to teens.
The 14-year-old, now 17, in a victim impact statement said she was physically injured from the sexual abuse — scratches on her arms and other injuries — and she also suffered mental health issues.
The teen said she now has depression and anxiety when she sees anyone who looks like Ruden. She also admitted to self-harm. She is going to counseling, but this abuse has changed her life. She can’t do normal things she had done in the past. She can’t sit in silence because it becomes “overwhelming and makes it hard to concentrate.”
It has affected her relationships with her family, the teen said during the hearing.
“I can’t stand my dad touching/hugging me it makes me uncomfortable,” she said.
Her family no longer has the same person in their lives.
She told the judge she feels Ruden should be in prison for life.
“I have a fear of him being out and a danger to young underage people like me,” the teen said. “I trust the criminal justice system knows what they are doing.”
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