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State sex abuse charges dismissed against Nora Springs man; charged in federal court

By Bob Steenson,

State sexual abuse charges against a Nora Springs man have been dismissed because the man is facing sexual exploitation and child pornography charges in federal court.

A Floyd County District Court judge dismissed the charges against Aaron Leroy Olson after a hearing Monday morning, agreeing with a motion by the County Attorney’s Office.

Olson, age 35, had been charged in November 2018 in Floyd County with three counts of second-degree sexual abuse for three separate incidents where he allegedly showed pornography on a computer to a 5-year-old girl and/or made the girl touch his genitals.

State sex abuse charges dismissed against Nora Springs man; charged in federal court
Aaron Leroy Olson

Those events allegedly took place between Jan. 1 and Nov. 8 last year.

Sexual abuse in the second degree is a Class B felony.

In July, Floyd County Attorney Rachel Ginbey filed a motion to dismiss those charges because Olson was in federal custody facing charges of child pornography.

“It is unknown how long it will take for those charges to be resolved,” Ginbey’s motion said. “The state is requesting that this case be dismissed without prejudice while those charges are pending.”

To dismiss without prejudice means the state charges could be filed again at a later time.

Olson’s attorney, Judith O’Donohoe of Charles City, resisted dismissing the charges without prejudice, arguing that Iowa law has established that a dismissal without prejudice must be made “in the furtherance of justice” and must provide appropriate and sufficient reasons for that dismissal.

“At the current time, the motion contains no specific reasons and does not specifically indicate that it is in furtherance of justice,” she wrote.

O’Donohoe also noted that she was having a difficult time conferring with her client, because the Linn County Jail where Olson is being held under federal custody will not allow email or phone conversations.

“It will be necessary for counsel for the defendant to travel to Cedar Rapids and discuss the matter directly,” she wrote.
Even getting Olson back to Charles City for the hearing Monday took some extra effort.

Judge DeDra Schroeder had to issue a writ of habeas corpus ordering federal marshals to release Olson into the custody of the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office for transport to and from the Floyd County Courthouse.

In her ruling Monday, Schroeder agreed with the state’s motion to dismiss, in the furtherance of justice, citing the cost and difficulty to pursue the case in light of Olson being held on similar federal charges, and saying the state “cites lack of incentive to pursue state charges if defendant is convicted on the federal charges.”

Court courts were assessed to the state.

Olson was charged in federal court in May with two counts of sexual exploitation of children, to allegedly create child pornography.
He is accused in the federal indictment of one count of using a girl under the age of 18 and one count of using a boy under the age of 18 “to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual depictions of such conduct.”

The acts allegedly occurred between October 2017 and October 2018.

The visual depictions were allegedly produced using materials that had previously been shipped and transported in interstate and foreign commerce, including a digital camera, two SD cards and a hard drive from a laptop computer that were all made outside of Iowa.

Because the devices allegedly used to create the sexual depictions were shipped across state lines, federal charges can be filed in the incidents.

Olson has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In June, Olson filed a request to submit a motion to suppress evidence under seal, meaning those documents would not be part of the public record.

The information, identified as brief and exhibits A-D, “are part of the discovery file and contain confidential information,” the motion stated. That request was granted.

A request to have his order for detention reviewed was also made in June, and after a hearing the federal court judge determined Olson should remain in custody.

A hearing on Olson’s motion to suppress evidence has been scheduled for Sept. 26. His trial is currently scheduled to begin within the two-week period beginning Nov. 18 in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids.