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Press Release

Iowa Man Sentenced for Sexual Abuse of a Minor

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nebraska

Acting United States Attorney Susan Lehr announced that Francisco J. Zapata, Jr., 22, of Sioux City, Iowa, was sentenced on October 4, 2023, in federal court in Omaha, Nebraska, for sexual abuse of a minor. United States District Court Judge Brian C. Buescher sentenced Zapata to 30 months’ imprisonment. There is no parole in the federal system. After his release from federal prison, Zapata will begin a 5-year term of supervised release. Zapata will be required to register as a sex offender pursuant to the Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), a federal law.

An FBI investigation identified a minor victim who disclosed meeting Zapata through social media in the Spring of 2021. The minor reported having sexual contact with Zapata on the Winnebago Indian Reservation. At the time of the sexual contact, the minor was 14 years old, and Zapata was 20 years old. Because the offense happened on an Indian Reservation and the minor was less than 16 years old, there was federal jurisdiction for the offense.

When the FBI interviewed Zapata, he admitted having sexual contact with the minor.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and 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

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


Donald J. Kleine - Chief, General Criminal Unit (402) 661-3700

Updated October 10, 2023

Project Safe Childhood