Judge spares prison for Iowa teen who raped toddler girl in live video — and plotted to assault boy
An Iowa teenager who recorded live streaming video of himself raping a toddler will not spend any time in prison after pleading guilty.
CORRECTION: The judge who handed down the sentence was misidentified in an earlier version of this story.
Kraigen Grooms admitted to raping a 2-year-old girl in April 2013, when he was 16 years old, while another man in New Orleans watched and recorded the abuse, reported Ottumwa Radio.
Investigators believe the assault was premeditated and that Grooms had targeted a 3-year-old boy for a similar assault.
A man who operates a Facebook group called MissingCases.com helped investigators identify Grooms as the assailant after sharing a photo of him, reported the Ottumwa Evening Post, which led to multiple tips within an hour from the teen’s friends.
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“It’s sad, he is such a young kid,” said Tim Caya. “Usually when you hear about this, it is old guys. It makes you wonder what was going on in his life to get him to this. I’m glad I helped catch him, but it makes you wonder about what is going on these days with kids doing this at such a young age.”
Grooms — who was arrested in March 2014, when he was 17 — was initially charged with second-degree sexual abuse, a class B felony that carries a potential 25-year prison term.
He pleaded guilty July 25 to a lesser charge of engaging in a lascivious act with a child.
Grooms, who also goes by the name Kraigen Simmers, will not spend any time in prison after Judge Randy Degeest handed him a 10-year suspended sentence.
The teen was released from jail following his guilty plea, after spending more than two years in juvenile detention and then the Wapello County Jail.
He underwent multiple psychological examinations while jailed, court documents show.
Grooms will be required to register as a sex offender for life, and he could be ordered to spend 10 years in prison if he fails to comply with the terms of his release.
Editor’s note: The sentencing judge was misidentified in an earlier version of this story. Judge Randy Degeest, not Judge Myron Gookin, presided over Grooms’ sentencing hearing. Both judges have been involved in this case, and Gookin was inaccurately identified as the sentencing judge in local media reports. We regret the error.