An Iowa man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 1-year-old baby will not serve any prison time.
Kraigen Grooms, 19, received a 10-year suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to one count of engaging in a lascivious act with a child, Ottumwa Radio reported. The sentence was given by Judge Myron Gookin in the Wapello County Courthouse.
The case began in 2013. Federal investigators became aware of a child pornography video in which an unidentified man is seen sexually abusing an infant, Inquistr reported. Authorities later learned that the infant in the video was 1 year old at the time.
The Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigated the video. They posted the suspect’s face on “wanted” posters, asking the public for help identifying him.
In March 2014, Tim Caya used social media to help identify the suspect. Caya ran a Facebook group called Missing Cases, which has more than 471,000 followers, the Ottumwa Evening Post reported.
“It seemed like a good idea at the time, I was reading a lot of stuff online about how these people were missing… I just wanted to help,” Caya told the Ottumwa Evening Post. “I don’t post every kind of wanted person, but mostly missing cases and people wanted for sex crimes.”
Caya posted the “wanted” poster, and the suspect was identified within an hour.
“All of the sudden thousands of people had shared it,” Caya explained. “Within the hour I was getting comments and some of them were from Kraigen Grooms’ friends. They tagged his profile, so I called ICE with the tip. I heard shortly later that they had caught him.”
Authorities also learned that the abuse was streamed live and then recorded by a remote viewer in New Orleans from his or her own computer, according to a criminal complaint.
"The Defendant had made prior arrangements with the subject in New Orleans to commit the abuse,” the criminal complaint stated. “The Defendant did not regularly babysit [the baby] and was not regularly left alone with [the baby].
“The Defendant had to intentionally seek out the opportunity to commit the abuse at a time and location where the subject in New Orleans could view and record the abuse."
Police suspected that Grooms may have been plotting on another victim.
“Forensic analysis of computers used in the transfer of the video recordings shows that the Defendant reported that he found the incident ‘so hot’ and that the Defendant was making arrangements to sexually abuse an unidentified three-year-old male while the subject in New Orleans viewed and recorded the abuse,” the complaint continued.
Grooms, who was 16 at the time of the assault, was arrested on March 19, 2014. He was charged with second-degree sexual abuse, which is considered a Class B Felony in Iowa, punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
His case was delayed multiple times. He stayed in juvenile detention, and was transferred to county lockup when he turned 18. The delays continued for two years until he was released from jail following his guilty plea.
Grooms underwent multiple psychological examinations during the trial. He will be required to register as a sex offender for life.