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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Marion Couple Charged with Child Sexual Exploitation Offenses

Michael Darling, age 20, and Jennifer Darling, age 27, both of Marion, Iowa, have been indicted on charges of sexual exploitation of a child, enticement of a minor, and receipt of child pornography.  The charges are contained in an Indictment filed on April 23, 2015, in United States District Court in Cedar Rapids.

The Indictment alleges that, between January 2015 and March 2015, Michael and Jennifer Darling persuaded, induced, and enticed a minor female to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual depictions of such conduct, and that they persuaded, induced, and enticed the minor female to engage in sexual activity.  The indictment also charges that they received child pornography.  In addition, the indictment alleges that, in 2007, Michael Darling was adjudicated delinquent for the offense of sexual abuse in the second degree.

If convicted on all charges, Michael Darling faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $750,000 fine, a $300 special assessment, and at least five years and up to life on supervised release following any imprisonment.  If convicted on all charges, Jennifer Darling faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $750,000 fine, a $300 special assessment, and at least five years and up to life on supervised release following any imprisonment.

Michael and Jennifer Darling made their initial appearance in federal court in Cedar Rapids on April 24, 2015, and Jennifer Darling appeared for a detention hearing today.  Michael Darling was held without bond, and Jennifer Darling was released on bond.  Their next appearance for trial is set for June 22, 2015.

As with any criminal case, a charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark Tremmel and was investigated by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Jones County Sheriff’s Office.

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 www.usdoj.gov/psc.  For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”

Court file information is available at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.  The case file number is CR 15-39.

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Updated April 29, 2015