News and Press Releases

Lowden Man Sentenced To 40 Years For Possessing And Receiving Child Pornography

November 18, 2011

Contact: Peter Deegan

A man who possessed a pornographic image of a minor female he had previously sexually abused was sentenced on November 17, 2011, to 40 years in federal prison.

Robert James Abels, age 20, from Lowden, Iowa, received the prison term after a May 3, 2011, guilty plea to one count of receiving child pornography following a conviction for an offense relating to sexual abuse of a minor, and one count of possessing child pornography following a conviction for an offense relating to sexual abuse of a minor.

According to information disclosed in court, Abels was convicted on September 16, 2010, of Lascivious Acts with a Child in Clinton County, Iowa. While on probation for that offense, Abels possessed at least one pornographic image of the child victim from the offense. Also while on probation for the offense, Abels received and possessed thousands of images of child pornography from the internet and was involved in sharing images of child pornography with others.

Abels was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade to 480 months’ imprisonment. Judge Reade also ordered Ables to serve a 20-year term of supervised release, with electronic monitoring, after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

Judge Reade said Abels was a very serious threat to children in any community and ordered that he have no contact with children upon his release from prison. Information disclosed in court revealed Abels, while on probation with GPS monitoring, had traveled to Missouri and had physical contact with a 7-year-old child he had been chatting with on the Internet. Other information disclosed in court revealed Abels had been chatting with another person over the Internet about kidnaping and raping children from Abels’ neighborhood. Investigators discovered Ables had taken thousands of pictures of children from his neighborhood.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

Abels is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Peter Deegan and was investigated by the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Court file information is available at The case file number is CR 11-61 LRR.



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