By Steve Woodhouse
Knoxville — Lincoln James Steele, 22, of Pella, pled guilty to two counts of lascivious acts with a child this morning and was immediately sentenced to 20 years.
Steele's plea agreement called for two charges of sexual abuse to be reduced to lascivious acts. Prior to pleading guilty in open court Friday morning, Steele was asked to tell the court what he had done to be guilty of these crimes.
Steele told Judge Gregory Hulse that he "fondled (and) touched" the vagina of a five-year old girl. This took place in Marion County. For the second count, which took place in Marion County in December 2013, Steele said he "had K.M. touch (his) penis for the purpose of (his) sexual arousal."
Steele's attorney, Jason Dunn, helped Steele state what Steele had done by whispering in his ear. Before a judge accepts any guilty plea, it is necessary for a defendant to waive the host of rights afforded the accused, including assurance that the defendant is not making the plea under duress or promise of any outcome. Steele went on to tell the judge that everything stated in the court dockets' minutes of testimony are true.
The defendant waived more rights and proceeded to be sentenced. Hulse sentenced Steele to ten years in prison, per count. Steele will remain in the Marion County Jail until he is transported to the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Oakdale.
"I am pleased that the defendant entered a guilty plea to this offense and that we were able to spare a very young child from having to testify in court," said Marion County Attorney Ed Bull via a press release.
Bull further commented: “I continue to be amazed by the courage it takes for a young person to come forward and confront their accusers. I wish to thank Officer Shawn Veenstra of the Pella Police Department for his outstanding work on this case, without dedicated public servants like Officer Veenstra, sexual predators such as this defendant would still be out and preying on our children.”