Officials arrest University student in criminal case

By Dan Farnham

A University senior was arrested on Friday for engaging in sexual acts with a 13-year-old girl in Iowa, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Urbana.

An affidavit released Friday stated the 22-year-old man met the girl online in December 2003 and traveled to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on three occasions and had sex with her. The last trip was Feb. 5, 2004, according to the affidavit.

The student appeared in a Champaign County court on Monday but will be transported to Cedar Rapids for the rest of his hearings, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Bass.

Sean Berry, assistant U.S. Attorney in Cedar Rapids, said a court date in Iowa had not yet been set, and there could be a detention hearing to determine his custody status.

The student currently faces a criminal complaint and has not yet been indicted, Berry said. If convicted, he could serve “no more than 30 years” in prison, he said. Berry said there is no minimum number of years to the sentence.

According to the affidavit, the student violated Title 18 in the United States Code, in that he “travel(ed) in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in a sexual act with a person under the age of 16 and more than four years younger than (him).”

Investigation of the case, which began on Sept. 3, included studying files on the girl’s computer, monitoring online conversations and checking the registration records of a motel that the student stayed at in Cedar Rapids. The student’s property that pertains to the case has also been seized.

University officials could not specifically comment on the student’s case. In instances when a student is arrested for a serious offense, the Office for Student Conflict Resolution usually handles the case and may hold a hearing for the student to decide disciplinary action, said Dean of Students Bill Riley.

The student was not available for comment.