Public Safety

Cedar Rapids man pleads guilty to sexual exploitation of 13-year-old girl

Faces up to 50 years in federal prison

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man pleaded guilty Thursday to sexual exploitation of a 13-year-old girl, as well as child pornography possession.

John M. Hunt, 34, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of sexual exploitation of a child and one count of possession of child pornography. He admitted to recording sexually explicit videos and photos of the girl between 2015 and September 2017. He also admitted knowing the girl was under the age of 17 at the time.

During the plea, Hunt also admitted to having child pornography between February 2017 and May of this year.

Cedar Rapids police investigator Tracy Johnson testified during a previous hearing that the 13-year-old girl, during an interview at St. Luke’s Child Protection Center, said Hunt also sexually abused her from 2015 through September 2017.

The girl also said she sent videos or photos to Hunt, at his request, Johnson testified. The videos and photos were taken with a cellphone Hunt had given the girl, she told police.

Police said they also found email messages between the child and Hunt.

During that previous hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Tremmel said Hunt, in an email, threatened to post nude photos of the girl online if she told anyone about them.

Police said the girl knew Hunt through a relative.

Hunt’s voice, a tattoo on his hand and his face were identified on one or more of the videos involving the 13-year-old, police said.

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The girl told police she reported the abuse now because she was concerned that Hunt would target her sister.

U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams, during the plea, said Hunt faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and up to 30 years in prison on the sexual exploitation charge and up to 20 years for child pornography. The sentencing judge could also run the sentences consecutively for a total of up to 50 years in federal prison, Williams said.

Hunt will have to register as a sex offender and serve at least five years of supervised release on each charge following his prison term.

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

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