Public Safety

Coralville man pleads to assault charge in sex abuse of teen

Faces up to 5 years in prison

IOWA CITY — A Coralville man who sexually abused a 15-year-old girl last year after forcing his way into her home pleaded guilty to a lesser charge last week before his trial was set to begin.

Terrence Dion White, 36, entered an Alford plea Friday in Johnson County District Court to assault without intent to cause but resulting in a serious injury. During the hearing, White admitted to assaulting the girl in September or October 2017 without meaning to cause serious injury.

In making an Alford plea, a defendant maintains his innocence but admits the prosecution has enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

White originally was charged with two counts of third-degree sexual abuse.

According to a criminal complaint, he sexually abused the 15-year-old on Sept. 29 and more than once in October 2017.

The teen, in a forensic interview at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Child Protection Center in Hiawatha, said White would say “weird stuff” to her that was inappropriate, according to a search warrant affidavit. On Sept. 29, he came to her home and asked if anyone else was there. When she said no, he forced himself inside and sexually abused her. She kept saying no, but he didn’t stop, police said.

A few weeks later, he sexually assaulted her again, according to the search warrant. She described the incidents in detail.

White, in a police interview, denied he had sexual contact with the teen, according to the search warrant.

Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness said she couldn’t provide further detail as to why the plea agreement was made. She did say the victim agreed to it.

White faces up to five years in prison. He plans to ask for a deferred judgment.

Sentencing is set for July 22. • Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com