Public Safety

California man charged with sexual exploitation of 15-year-old Iowa girl

CEDAR RAPIDS — A 21-year-old California man, initially charged in state court with harboring a runaway in October, was indicted this week in federal court for sexual exploitation of a 15-year-old girl.

David R. Vogelpohl of Vista, Calif., is charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a child, according to an indictment unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court.

Authorities say Vogelpohl persuaded a minor under 18 years old to engage in sexually explicit conduct to produce photos and videos between August and October.

He appeared in court Monday and will remain in jail without bond pending trial, set for Feb. 4.

Vogelpohl was arrested Oct. 14 in Mason City on a charge of harboring a runaway against the wishes of a parent. He was taken into custody in Nebraska, according to Cerro Gordo County court documents.

Court documents show the 15-year-old ran away from home, telling classmates she was running away with her boyfriend, Vogelpohl. He claimed to have no knowledge of her disappearance, documents show.

Authorities contacted Vogelpohl on Oct. 17 and 18, and he talked with law enforcement from Clarke and Warren counties on three different occasions. During those contacts, a young girl later confirmed to be the teen was with him. Authorities said she appeared to be scared and gave a false name.

A diner employee who saw them told authorities she overhead Vogelpohl “begging” the girl to jump on a train with him to Kansas City, according to court documents.

If convicted, Vogelpohl faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years and possibly up to 30 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and at least five years on supervised release following any prison term.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Tremmel and is being investigated by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the Mason City Police Department, the North Platte Police Department in Nebraska and Homeland Security Investigations.

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