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Press Release

Urbandale Man Sentenced to Twelve Years in Prison for Receipt of Child Pornography

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

DES MOINES, IA – On April 16, 2021, United States District Court Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger sentenced Joseph Mikel Cerwick, age 33, of Urbandale, to 144 months in prison for Receipt of Child Pornography announced Acting United States Attorney Richard D. Westphal. Cerwick was ordered to serve eight years of supervised release to follow his prison term, pay $9,000 in restitution, and comply with sex offender registry requirements upon his release from prison.

This investigation began in December of 2017 when the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation Task Force received a tip that a video of child pornography had been sent to an individual through the Kik internet application. Following further investigation, the FBI executed a search warrant at Cerwick’s Urbandale apartment in September 2018. Police seized Cerwick’s cellular telephone which was found to contain hundreds of images of child pornography. Cerwick also received and sent a video of child pornography to other persons via the Kik app in November 2017.

This matter was investigated by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the FBI’s 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.


Rachel J. Scherle

Updated April 19, 2021

Project Safe Childhood