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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Former SE Polk High School Teacher Sentenced to 24 Years in Federal Prison for Sexually Exploiting Student

DES MOINES, IA – On October 19, 2021, United States District Court Judge Stephanie M. Rose sentenced Abraham Christopher Smith, age 39, formerly of Pleasant Hill, to 288 months in prison for Enticement of a Minor announced Acting United States Attorney Richard D. Westphal. Smith pleaded guilty to the offense on June 10, 2021. Following completion of his prison term, Smith is required to register as a sex offender and will be on supervised release for ten additional years. Under federal law, Enticement of a Minor carries a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison and a maximum term of life in prison.

According to court documents, Smith was a full-time teacher at Southeast Polk High School for several years. Beginning by at least early October 2020 and continuing to on or about October 28, 2020, Smith used a cell phone and the internet to persuade, induce, and entice Minor Victim #1—a minor student at the school—to engage in sexual activity with Smith. Additionally, Smith used his own iPhone to record Minor Victim #1 engaging in sexual activity with Smith.

“A teacher sexually exploiting a student is a very serious crime. Students must be safe at school. Parents deserve to have confidence that educators to whom they entrust their children are not preying on them. This prosecution and sentence should send a message to any school staff member contemplating exploiting a minor that the consequences may be decades in prison,” said Acting United States Attorney Westphal.

This case was investigated by the Iowa DCI Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Altoona Police Department, Polk County Attorney’s Office, and the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force.

The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa as part of the United States Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Childhood” initiative, which was started in 2006 as a nationwide effort to combine law enforcement investigations and prosecutions, community action, and public awareness in order to reduce the incidence of sexual exploitation of children.

Any persons having knowledge of a child being sexually abused are encouraged to call the Iowa Sexual Abuse Hotline at 1-800-284-7821.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Contact: 
Rachel J. Scherle 515-473-9300 USAIAS-PAO@usdoj.gov
Updated October 21, 2021