Public Safety

Judge sentences Tama man to probation for sexually abusing 8-year-old girl

TOLEDO — A judge gave a Tama man five years probation for sexually abusing an 8-year-old girl multiples times over the course of several months.

6th Judicial District Judge Mitchell Turner sentenced William Purk II, 70, to 10 years in prison for his conviction of lascivious acts with a child, but then suspended it, giving him five years probation.

Purk was originally charged with lascivious acts with a child, two counts of indecent exposure, incest, second-degree sexual abuse and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse. He made an Alford plea in May to lascivious acts with a child.

An Alford plea is when a defendant maintains innocence but admits the prosecution has enough evidence for a conviction.

Criminal complaints state Purk sexually abused an 8-year-old girl between September 2015 and January 2016, after she was removed from her home by the Iowa Department of Human Services and placed in Purk’s home.

Tama County Attorney Brent Heeren asked that Purk serve 10 years prison, arguing this was severe crime against a child and that Purk lacked remorse.

Laura Eilers, a guardian ad litem appointed by the court to represent the child, read a victim’s impact statement from the girl. She also recommended the court impose a prison sentence.

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Heeren said during the hearing, Purk asked the judge for probation, and said he had “forgiven” the victim.

Rev. Kenny Mervin of Tama Meskwaki Celebration Assembly of God Church and Purk’s daughter, Amber Purk, disputed the allegations of the victim and asked that Purk be given probation.

Judge Turner, in his sentencing document, said this sentence will provide the “greatest benefit” to Purk and the community. He also reminded Purk that his guilty plea is a sexually predatory offense and any future convictions for similar offenses would impact prison time.

Judge Turner also ordered Purk to serve the special sentence lifetime parole because this is a sex crime and he must register as a sex offender.

Purk is the cousin of Tait Purk, who Turner last year overturned his first-degree murder conviction for killing his fiancee, Cora Okonski, 23, on April 16, 2000. Turner ruled the weight of the evidence wasn’t sufficient for a conviction and granted him a new trial.

Turner recused himself and Judge Ian Thornhill presided over the second trial and found Tait Purk guilty of second degree murder. He is now serving a 50 year sentence in prison.

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

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