Skip to main content
Press Release

Former Reserve Deputy Sheriff Sentenced a Dozen Years in Federal Prison for Receiving Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Possessed Over 168,000 Files Containing Child Pornography

A man who spent over 20 years as a reserve deputy sheriff who amassed a large collection of child pornography over seven years was sentenced today to 12 years in federal prison.

Gordon Grabau, age 51, from Marion, Iowa, received the prison term after an October 17, 2022 guilty plea to receiving child pornography.

Information from a plea agreement and information disclosed at sentencing showed Grabau collected child pornography using peer-to-peer software from 2014 to 2021.  In July 2021, law enforcement agencies searched Grabau’s home, seizing numerous electronic devices such as computers and hard drives.  While examining those devices, law enforcement found 168,780 files containing child pornography.  The files included both still images and videos.  The files depicted children as young as infants and included prepubescent children involved in sadistic and masochistic conduct, some involving an adult.

Grabau had no prior criminal history.  He had previously served as a volunteer reserve deputy sheriff for Linn County beginning in 2000.  The Linn County Sheriff terminated his ability to serve as a reserve deputy on the same day law enforcement searched Grabau’s home. 

Grabau was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Grabau was sentenced to 144 months’ imprisonment.  He must also serve a five-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

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 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  For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab “resources.”

Grabau 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 Anthony Morfitt and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Marion Police Department, and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 22-CR-53.

Follow us on Twitter @USAO_NDIA.

Updated April 7, 2023

Project Safe Childhood