'Tinder rapist' pleads guilty

11 July 2019 | Justice

Jona Shitaleni Paulus (33), a Namibian registered as a graduate student at Iowa State University, is serving 90 days in prison after pleading guilty to a lesser charge of sexual assault.

Paulus pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit sexual abuse before the Story County District Court in Iowa on 17 June.

According to the court documents, Paulus will be registered as a sex offender for life and had to pay a US$700 fine. This charge pertained to a woman he allegedly forced to have sex with him in his apartment, holding her down by the wrists.

He had met her on the dating site Tinder.

He was set to appear in court on Tuesday this week but, the plea deal cancelled that appearance.





But Paulus' legal woes have only just begun.

New charges that were brought early in May after police searched his cellphone will be now heard in a federal court, not the Iowa state court.

Both charges - sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of footage of a minor depicting a sexual act - are regarded as felonies, or serious crimes.

A federal court's jurisdiction in the United States covers crimes that contravene laws passed by Congress and matters that contravene the American constitution.

Consequently, the Story County District Court has dismissed the two charges as the matter will now be transferred to a federal court. According to Pate & Johnson, a law firm that specialises in federal cases involving child pornography and sexual exploitation of a minor, Paulus could face 25 years in prison if convicted on both charges.

“Under federal law, child pornography is any 'visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct'. A visual depiction is basically a picture, video or digital image. A minor is anyone under 18 years old.

“A conviction for a federal child pornography offence can carry a substantial amount of prison time. A person who is convicted of knowingly possessing child pornography can be sentenced up to 10 years in prison,” the law firm writes. The charge of sexual exploitation of a minor is defined as “a person who attempts to induce, persuade or entice a minor to engage in a sexual act for the purpose of making a video, picture or other image”.

“The penalties for sexual exploitation under federal law are incredibly severe. The mandatory minimum sentence is 15 years and the maximum is 30 years.”

The sexual exploitation count came after police searched Paulus's phone while investigating the third-degree sexual abuse charge, according to a criminal complaint filed by campus police. Investigators said the phone contained sexual images and a sexual video depicting a girl who repeatedly told him she was 16 years old.

During their conversation Paulus apparently solicited naked pictures and a video of a prohibited sexual act from the girl.

In the conversations that took place between 1 April and 5 April, the minor identified herself as a 16-year-old multiple times during the chats, it was reported. Police interviewed the girl on 30 April and she confirmed that it was her in the pictures and video sent to Paulus.

While the matter will be heard in federal court, it is reported that the Iowa state prosecutor has reserved the right to try the case after the federal prosecution ends.

Some online news sites report that Paulus has been denied entry to the university campus.

The Des Moines Register reports that Michelle K. Wolf, the public defender assigned to Paulus, could not provide any information on whether Paulus plans to remain enrolled at the university. She confirmed that she would not be representing him in federal court.

YANNA SMITH

Similar News

 

President rejects Kora blame

3 days ago - 11 October 2019 | Justice

President Hage Geingob late yesterday rejected claims made in court papers that he influenced the decision by the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) to pay N$23.4 million to...

Inmate loses N$3.5m lawsuit

3 days ago - 11 October 2019 | Justice

Namibian prison services were absolved of any blame in a N$3.5 million lawsuit brought by a prisoner who accused medical officers at the Windhoek prison...

Kora matter public again

5 days ago - 09 October 2019 | Justice

The information regarding the Kora Awards matter that is currently before the High Court between the Namibia Tourism Board and Mundail Telecom Sarl was made...

Ya Nangoloh drags Olufuko 'strip show' to court

5 days ago - 09 October 2019 | Justice

Namibia's government, former president Sam Nujoma and two traditional authorities are opposing a lawsuit attempting to ban the Olufuko cultural festival for its alleged degrading...

Secret Kora settlement talks

5 days ago - 09 October 2019 | Justice

A lawsuit stemming from the cancelled Kora Awards ceremony has been marked as “in camera” on the justice system portal, which means the media cannot...

A popi kutya omona okwa yahwa a fa ombwa

5 days ago - 09 October 2019 | Justice

Bonifatius Hauthiku Muhapiri, he yaMuyevu Andreas Haushiku, ngoka a dhipagwa kaakwashigwana yaChina muApilili nuumvo moAndara okwa popi kutya okwa ningi omugeyintu.Okwa popile ngaaka pompangu yaMukwe...

Shot 'like a dog'

6 days ago - 08 October 2019 | Justice

Bonifatius Hauthiku Muhapiri, the father of Muyevu Andreas Haushiku, who was gunned down by two Chinese businessmen at Andara in April, says he has become...

Veil of secrecy over Kora court battle

1 week ago - 07 October 2019 | Justice

A veil of secrecy has fallen over government's attempts to retrieve the N$23.5 million that was siphoned out of the country through the so-called Kora...

Poaching syndicate fights for bail

1 week ago - 04 October 2019 | Justice

While two suspects in a multimillion-dollar rhino-horn theft case were released on bail this week, an alleged poaching kingpin was denied permission to appeal against...

Immigration drags feet

1 week ago - 04 October 2019 | Justice

A same-sex couple who were willing to drop a lawsuit against the immigration authorities are still battling to obtain the promised permanent residence permit.On Wednesday,...

Latest News

Amupanda KOs Doeseb

23 hours ago | Sports

JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA - Namibian public figures had a chance to stretch their muscles after participating in the MTC Knockout Project at the Windhoek...

TransNamib gets N$2.5bn

23 hours ago | Transport

TransNamib CEO Johny Smith says Namibian and southern African development banks have approved funding of N$2.5 billion for the parastatal's ambitious business plan that was...

Crashes cost millions

23 hours ago | Accidents

Injury grants totalling more than N$21 million and funeral grants of N$2.5 million have been paid out by the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund in...

Nudo promises welfare state

23 hours ago | Politics

The National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) promised a welfare state when it launched its election manifesto in the Havana informal settlement on Saturday.Addressing a crowd...

Every anti-GBV effort counts

23 hours ago | Opinion

The MTC Knockout Project held over the weekend was a huge success in many ways. Naysayers, spurred on by armchair critics, had a field day...

The Desert Dash is on

23 hours ago | Sports

The 20th edition of the Nedbank Desert Dash is set to take place in the first week of December. The event, which annually attracts...

Pack and leave

23 hours ago | Sports

JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA I am writing this hoping that it will reach those that I believe do not have the interest...

Expired meds limit campaign

23 hours ago | Agriculture

Only some cattle in the northern communal areas will benefit from this year's free lung sickness vaccination.The agriculture ministry would neither confirm nor deny that...

PDM slams LPM's 'blatant lie'

23 hours ago | Politics

The secretary-general of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), Manuel Ngaringombe, has denied allegations that the party has struck a deal with Swapo to rig the...

Load More