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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Iowa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 30, 2013

Federal Sentence For Serial Internet Predator Highlights Online Dangers To ChildrenInternet Predator Used Social Networking Websites To Sexually Exploit And Extort Children

United States Attorney Sean R. Berry, Cedar Rapids Police Department Captains Steve O’Konek, Bernie Walther and Tom Jouker, and Cedar Rapids Police Department Lieutenant Craig Furnish announced today the sentencing of Lucas Robinson, age 24, from Cedar Rapids. Robinson was sentenced to 42 years in federal prison for one count of sexual exploitation of children, one count of possession of child pornography, and one count of extortion.

Between 2009 and 2012, Robinson victimized at least twelve minor females as part of his offenses. Robinson met most of his victims online and then later communicated with them by mobile telephone. His victims were between the ages of 12 and 15 and they lived in 7 different states in addition to Iowa. In order to obtain additional sexually explicit images of his victims, Robinson threatened to distribute sexually explicit images they already had sent to him. He threatened to distribute the images on websites, to a parent, to their friends, and to others they knew from school. Robinson convinced one female victim to share her Facebook password with him, and later told her that he had her password and could send sexually explicit images of her to her friends. Robinson extorted one of his victims to meet with him and have sex with him.

Robinson was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade. Robinson was sentenced to 42 years in prison to be followed by a 15-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system. Robinson is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

“Now that kids are home for the summer, parents need to keep in mind the dangers their children face on the Internet. Sexual predators are searching the Internet for children and can use social networking sites like Facebook to learn about and make contact with your child,” said United States Attorney Berry. “The Internet can be a wonderful resource for kids, but sadly, it is often used to prey on them.”
“Parents need to teach their children to use the Internet safely,” said Berry. “Children need to know that, by following certain rules, they can protect themselves while ‘surfing the net.’” Berry suggested parents to tell their children to:

• Never post their name, address, telephone number, school name, parent’s name, or any other personal information.

• Never post or send pictures of themselves without permission from their parents.

• Never agree to meet face to face with someone they’ve met online without permission from their parents.

• Never respond to messages that have bad words, talk about their bodies, or seem scary or strange.

• Always tell their parents if they find something scary or threatening on the Internet.

Berry advised that parents should also monitor their children’s access to and use of the Internet. Parents should:

• Monitor their children when they’re online and monitor the time they spend online. Keep the computer in a common area of the house. If a child quickly changes the screen or becomes uneasy or defensive when a parent walks into the room, this could be a sign that the child is involved in something he or she should not be.

• Make sure that access to the Internet at school and at friends’ houses is monitored by adults.

• Watch for unexplained changes in their child’s behavior or attitude.

• Watch for unusual telephone calls or mail addressed to their child.

• Save any threatening e-mails or pornographic material received by their child and provide it to law enforcement officers.

“By paying attention and insisting on some common sense rules, parents can go a long way toward protecting their children from Internet predators like Lucas Robinson,” Berry said.

The Robinson case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark Tremmel and was investigated by the Cedar Rapids Police Department, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, and the Iowa Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Court file information is available at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl. The case file number is CR 12-0089. The 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 the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”

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Updated February 19, 2015