Public Safety

Sentencing reset to March for Iowa City architect convicted of secretly taping employee pumping breast milk

Robert Carlson
Robert Carlson

IOWA CITY — The sentencing for an Iowa City architect, who was convicted last year for secretly videotaping an employee pumping breast milk in a private conference room, has been reset to March 11.

Robert Carlson, 68, pleaded guilty in Johnson County District Court to nine of the 22 invasion of privacy charges right before his trial was to begin in November. Sentencing had been set for this week.

A few days before his trial last year, 6th Judicial Associate District Judge Deb Minot ruled that evidence of adult pornography and research on voyeurism and hidden cameras found on his computer would be allowed at trial because Carlson was accused of viewing and videotaping the employee’s exposed breasts.

“The female victim did not consent to these recordings and had a reasonable expectation of privacy while in the room pumping breast milk,” according to the criminal complaint.

Clark found the recording device Dec. 18, 2018, in the architectural firm’s conference room, which she had been reserving for weeks after returning from maternity leave.

Police obtained a search warrant for the firm’s office and Carlson’s house. Police said they seized electronic devices as part of their search. Those devices contained 22 videos of incidents where Clark was pumping breast milk, police said.

The sentencing previously set for Thursday was reset because the 6th Judicial District Department of Correctional Services didn’t receive a formal notification of the judge’s order to prepare a presentencing report, according to a motion filed by Assistant Johnson County Attorney Rachel Zimmermann Smith. The department needed more time to complete the report, which includes a psychosexual evaluation.


The nine aggravated misdemeanor convictions with penalties of two years each in prison total 18 years, but Carlson only faces up to six years as part of the plea agreement.

Zimmermann Smith will ask the sentencing judge to run three counts consecutively for six years and the remaining six counts concurrently to the three, as part of the plea agreement. The remaining charges will be dismissed at sentencing.

Carlson plans to ask for a deferred judgment, according to the plea agreement.

Carlson also must register as a sex offender for 10 years and be sentenced to a special sentence of parole for 10 years because this is sexual offense — unless he is granted the deferred judgment, the plea showed.

The judge also will include a no-contact order for five years to protect the victim.

Clark also sued Carlson and the Carlson Design Team in May 2018, alleging sexual harassment, sex discrimination, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The suit has been settled, but there are no details in public court records.

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