Public Safety

Former Four Oaks counselor will plead to sexual abuse of 14-year-old boy

Judge rejects written plea Thursday because it was incomplete

CEDAR RAPIDS — A former Four Oaks youth counselor filed a written plea Thursday to sexually abusing and exploiting a 14-year-old boy, but a judge rejected it because her attorney hadn’t included all of the consequences of her guilty plea.

Danielle V. Hook, 29, formerly of Marion, plans to plead to amended charges of third-degree sexual abuse and sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist. The Iowa Supreme Court is allowing written pleas to felonies during the pandemic.

Sixth Judicial District Senior Judge Robert Sosalla rejected the plea, however, because the fines were incorrect and the length of time she would have to be listed on the sex offender registry was missing from the document.

Hook will be pleading to two sexually predatory offenses, but the plea also did not state the penalty enhancements she would face if she commits future sex offenses, Sosalla said in his order.

The judge reset the plea hearing to March 18, in order to give Hook’s attorney, David Fiester, time to file a new written plea.

If the plea is accepted next month, Hook faces up to 15 years on both charges, but she may not face prison time.

Assistant Iowa Attorney General Maureen Hughes, in a letter to Fiester, said she will join the defense attorney in recommending the sentences run concurrently for a total of 10 years and for Hook to receive probation.

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Hook also will have to register as a sex offender and serve a special sentence of parole because she is pleading to sex offenses.

The other charge of harboring a runaway will be dismissed at sentencing, as part of this plea deal.

A criminal complaint states Hook had sexual contact with the teenager from July 1, 2017, through Nov. 30, 2018, while she was employed as a counselor with Four Oaks, 1341 Bertram St. in Cedar Rapids.

After Hook was fired from Four Oaks, it was discovered the teen was living with her in Marion when juvenile authorities were searching for him, according to an investigation by the Iowa Department of Human Services and juvenile court services.

Investigators also discovered Hook gave birth to the teenager’s child, which was confirmed by a DNA test, according to the criminal complaint. The teen was 16 last July, according to authorities.

A search warrant obtained last year by The Gazette showed the Linn County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by Chad Deahl, with Linn County Juvenile Court, about a possible “sex trafficking and sex abuse” at Four Oaks.

Deahl supervised a 17-year-old who was discharged from Four Oaks in December 2018. After the teen attempted suicide by overdose last year, Deahl learned the 17-year-old had been roommates with the 14-year-old at the facility.

The 17-year-old said he and the younger teen had sex with Hook in the basement of a cottage at Four Oaks.

Hook, up until the end of November 2018, was in a position of authority over male youths on their daily routines and programs at Four Oaks, the search warrant affidavit stated.

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Human Services and the Linn County Sheriff’s Office started an investigation. Marion police on Feb. 11, 2019, found the 14-year-old “hiding” in a back bedroom.

The teen was arrested and taken to the Story County Juvenile Facility, according to the warrant. Hook was arrested in Story County last July.

Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden said after Hook was charged that the Iowa Attorney General’s Office took the case because it has more experience with these types of cases.

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

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