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Press Release

Urbandale Man Sentenced to Life Imprisonment for Sex Trafficking of Children

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

DES MOINES, Iowa – On November 17, 2017, United States District Court Judge Stephanie M. Rose sentenced Clark Wesley Betts, Jr., 41, of Urbandale, Iowa, to life imprisonment for two counts of sex trafficking of a child, announced United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum. Betts was also sentenced to three, concurrent terms of 40 years’ imprisonment for three counts of distribution of a controlled substance to a person under the age of 21. Betts was ordered to pay restitution in the amounts of $349,032 to the first minor victim and $374,400 to the second minor victim. He also must pay $500 to the Crime Victims’ Fund.


On June 8, 2017, a jury convicted Betts of the sex trafficking and drug charges, which arose from an investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Des Moines Police Department. Betts was convicted of providing two minor victims to Betts’s drug dealer for sex acts in exchange for crack cocaine. Betts was also convicted of providing crack cocaine to the three minor victims.


“Human trafficking is a crime that occurs in the shadows,” said United States Attorney Krickbaum. “Its victims are amongst the most vulnerable members of society. We depend upon all members of society to alert law enforcement where they suspect someone may be a victim of human trafficking, so that we can protect the victims and see that justice is done.”


Human trafficking is a crime involving the exploitation of youth under the age of 18 for commercial sex; the exploitation of adults for commercial through the use of force, fraud, or coercion; and the exploitation of any individual for compelled labor. Human trafficking does not require the transportation of individuals across state lines, or that someone is physically restrained. Signs that a person is being trafficked can include working excessively long hours, unexplained gifts, physical injury, substance abuse issues, running away from home, isolation from others, or having a person their life controlling them or monitoring them closely. Anyone who suspects human trafficking is occurring, be it a minor engaged in paid sex acts, or anyone being coerced into prostitution or labor, is urged to please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.


This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Des Moines Police Department. Support services were provided by the Blank Children’s STAR Center, the Iowa Department of Human Services, and Polk County Crisis and Advocacy Services. This case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.




Learn more about this release by calling Kevin E. VanderSchel at 515-473-9300, or by emailing him at (link sends e-mail).


Updated November 17, 2017

Drug Trafficking
Human Trafficking