Namibian pleads not guilty to US sex charges

23 May 2019 | Justice

A Namibian student studying in America has pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault charges he faces, including the exploitation of a minor.

In a separate matter, 33-year-old Jona Shitaleni Paulus has also been charged with the third-degree sexual assault of a woman, which together with the alleged sexual exploitation of a teenage girl half his age, took place over two days.

He has also pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting the woman.

Paulus, who is a graduate student at Iowa State University in the United States, appeared on Tuesday in the Story County District Court for his arraignment on charges of sexually exploiting a minor and being in possession of footage of a minor involved in a sexual act.

He pleaded not guilty and his trial is scheduled to begin on 9 July.

Paulus was being held on a US$75 000 bond (about N$1 million), but Michelle Wolf, the public defender assigned to his case, requested a bond reduction hearing on Tuesday.

His bond was reduced to US$22 000 (about N$316 000), of which US$12 000 (about N$172 000) was set for the case involving the minor and US$10 000 (about N$144 000) for the sexual assault case.

Paulus was charged on 30 April with the sexual exploitation of a minor and being in possession of a depiction of a minor in a sex act, Iowa Courts Online records show.

The charges stem from an interaction between Paulus and a 16-year-old girl.

In conversations Paulus allegedly solicited naked pictures and a video of a prohibited sexual act from the girl.





Paulus was therefore charged with a range of felonies.

In the conversations that took place between 1 and 5 April, the minor identified herself as a 16-year-old multiple times.

The police interviewed the girl on 30 April and she confirmed that it was her in the pictures and video sent to Paulus.

Last month the police also charged Paulus with third-degree sexual abuse after he allegedly committed a sex act on a woman who was in his apartment at the university village complex. A separate complaint filed by the police states that Paulus held down the woman against her will early on 6 April and sexually assaulted her.

The police said she was eventually able to push him off of her and began recording him with her cellphone as she was leaving. In the recording, she can be heard telling Paulus “I told you no”. He then replies: “I know. I know.”

When the police interviewed Paulus three days later, he admitted sexual interactions occurred, but told the officers they were consensual. The charging documents noted that the victim had bruising on her wrist and hands. The two met on Tinder and had been talking for a couple of weeks.

A no-contact order prevents Paulus from interacting with the woman. He has pleaded not guilty to the sexual abuse charge. The trial in this matter is scheduled to begin on 18 June.

Paulus is being investigated for a third sexual crime that occurred the same day of the alleged assault.



ELLANIE SMIT

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