Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Local News

March 8, 2013

Two Marion County sex offenders sent to prison

Kenneth Joseph Rivers and Benjamin Lee Curtis were each sentenced to prison for sex-based crimes in Marion County District Court on Friday. The cases are not related.

Rivers pled guilty to two counts of lascivious acts with a child, stemming from instances during the summer of 1997. The victim came forward about the acts late last year. At the time of the crimes, she was under the age of 13.

The plea was made by Rivers in open court. Rivers then requested to be sentenced immediately. Judge David Christensen sentenced Rivers to five years per count, with the sentences running consecutively. Rivers received credit for time served, he may be eligible for parole, his sentence could be reduced with good behavior and he must register as a sex offender.

Curtis appeared in court on, what Marion County Attorney Ed Bull referred to as “a number of criminal matters.” Bull reached a plea agreement with Curtis’ attorney, Ted Engel, in which Curtis agreed to waive his right to a jury trial in favor of a bench trial.

Christensen was notified of the agreement, and the defendant’s intent to do this, on Thursday. The judge reviewed the evidence and testimony available to make a decision regarding Curtis’ guilt on charges of third-degree sexual abuse, false imprisonment and domestic abuse assault.

The charges were related to a July 3, 2012, incident in Pella, in which Curtis beat and raped his girlfriend, and refused to let her leave his apartment. Other charges related to this incident were filed against Curtis, but were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Christensen, upon reviewing the evidence, found him guilty of the charges stated above. Curtis also requested immediate sentencing.

Bull read the State’s recommended sentence, which included 10 years in prison for the sexual abuse charge, five years for the domestic abuse charge and one year for the false imprisonment, all with associated fines and surcharges. The State recommended Curtis be on parole for the rest of his natural born life after fulfilling his sentence, and that a portion of his prison sentences run concurrently, so that Curtis will not be incarcerated for a period of time exceeding 11 years.

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