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Public Safety

Cedar Rapids man pleads to lesser charge in sex abuse of 13-year-old-girl

Faces up to 2 years, sex offender registry and special sentence of parole

Bryan Henderson
Bryan Henderson

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man pleaded just before jury selection started this week for his trial in the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl.

Bryan Henderson, 38, pleaded guilty in Linn County District Court to an amended charge of indecent contact with a child, an aggravated misdemeanor.

Henderson, originally charged with third-degree sexual abuse and dissemination of obscene materials, made an Alford plea, meaning a defendant maintains his innocence but admits the prosecution has enough evidence to prove the charge beyond reasonable doubt.

A 13-year-old girl described Henderson, a family friend, touching her while they were in the kitchen of his house on March 11, 2017, according to the criminal complaint. She described the sex acts during a forensic interview at Unity Point-St. Luke’s Child Protection Center.

The girl told the interviewer that the kitchen was an area of the house that didn’t have surveillance cameras, according to the complaint.

She also said Henderson showed her pornographic images on his cellphone, the complaint shows.

The charges were amended by the prosecution following 6th Judicial District Judge Fae Hoover-Grinde’s ruling that wouldn’t allow evidence at trial that Henderson, if he testified, had been previously charged with a sexual abuse of a child but he pleaded to child endangerment, an aggravated misdemeanor, and received a suspended sentence and probation.

Typically, if defendants testify, there previous convictions are allowed to come into testimony, but the judge has discretion.

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Henderson’s prior conviction was in 2013, which wasn’t prosecuted by Maybanks, and it involved a 12-year-old girl, Anastasia Basquin, chief victim liaison for the Linn County Attorney’s Office, said. The victim’s family didn’t want her to testify and the plea agreement was made, she said.

Maybanks said he couldn’t provide more details, until after sentencing, as to why the plea agreement was made. He did add that the victim and her family agreed with the resolution of the case.

Maybanks pointed out that Henderson will be required to be listed on the sex offender registry for 10 years and be on a special sentence of parole for 10 years because this is a sex offense.

Henderson also will not ask for a deferred judgment per the plea, Maybanks said.

Sentencing hasn’t been set at this time.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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