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Press Release

Marion Man Pleads Guilty to Receiving Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Received Over 160,000 Files Identified as Child Pornography

A former volunteer Linn County reserve deputy sheriff pled guilty today in federal court to receiving child pornography.

Gordon Grabau, age 51, from Marion, Iowa, was convicted of one count of receiving child pornography.

In a plea agreement, Grabau admitted that, between December 2014 and June 2021, he knowingly received and attempted to receive visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  Grabau further admitted that, on July 1, 2021, law enforcement officers searched his home in Marion.  Officers seized numerous digital storage devices, such as hard drives and thumb drives, from the home.  Those devices were examined, and officers discovered Grabau had over 160,000 files containing child pornography spread over five devices.  Grabau admitted that those files included material involving children under the age of 12, including children as young as infants and toddlers.  The material also included images portraying both sadistic and masochistic conduct.

Evidence at a prior hearing showed that Grabau had served as a volunteer reserve deputy sheriff in Linn County since 2000.  The Linn County Sheriff’s Office suspended him and Grabau later resigned his position on July 17, 2021.

Sentencing before United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Grabau remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.  Grabau faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment and the following maximum penalties: (1) not more than 20 years’ imprisonment without the possibility of parole; (2) a fine of not more than $250,000; (3) a mandatory special assessment of $100; and (4) a term of supervised release of at least 5 years to life.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Morfitt and was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Marion Police Department.

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.” 

Court file information at

The case file number is 22-CR-53.

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Updated October 17, 2022

Project Safe Childhood