Former Rock Valley Man Sentenced To 10-Year Prison Term For Lascivious Acts With A Child And Sexual Exploitation Of A Minor

Orange City, Iowa — A Rock Valley man has been sentenced to a ten year prison term for lascivious acts with a child and sexual exploitation of a minor.

Sioux County Attorney Coleman McAllister says that 50-year-old Rogelio Zarate-Rios, formerly of Rock Valley, was sentenced on Monday (6/11) in Sioux County District Court for the crimes of Lascivious Acts with a Child, a Class C Felony, and Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, a Class C Felony.

On March 13, a Sioux Center woman came to the Sioux Center Police Department to report that they had discovered photographs of their eight year old son on Zarate-Rios’s cell phone. The family discovered the cell phone photos after Zarate-Rios had been in a car accident using their vehicle and they went to retrieve their vehicle and discovered the cell phone. The photos on Zarate-Rios’s cell phone included photos of the child sleeping clad only in his underwear and one photo depicting a male hand touching the boy’s private parts. The woman told the police that Zarate-Rios had lived with the family for about four months during which time he had shared a bedroom with the child. The child was interviewed by authorities and the child further stated that Zarate-Rios had forced him to touch the man’s private parts. Zarte-Rios was arrested by Sioux Center Police on March 15, 2012. On June 11, 2012, Zarate-Rios pled guilty to the crime of Lascivious Acts with a Child and to the crime of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor.

Zarate-Rios was sentenced to ten years in prison on each charge, with the sentences to run concurrently, for a total indeterminate prison term not to exceed ten years. Zarate-Rios was further sentenced to a special sentence committing him into the custody of the Director of the Iowa Department of Corrections for the rest of his life, with eligibility for parole.

The Court also ordered that upon his release from prison, Zarate-Rios may be required to wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet for a period of five years as required by law and he must register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.

Zarate-Rios is a permanent legal resident of the United States, but because of the felony convictions in this matter, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has indicated that upon the expiration of his prison term, ICE will take custody of Zarate-Rios and begin deportation proceedings.


Rock Rapids Park Bridge Under Consideration By City Council

Rock Rapids, Iowa — The Rock Rapids City Council is in the middle of a long process to decide the fate of a bridge at the opening to the city’s popular Island Park.

The bridge, at the end of the park’s cobblestone drive is over a channel put in over 100 years ago, reportedly by the railroad to divert the Rock River when they were building their trestle, thereby creating the island that gave Island Park its name.

But the bridge is over 100 years old, and is quite possibly beyond repair. The council has had several companies and government agencies look at the bridge to inspect it and come up with ideas about what to do so that people can still use the park’s historic entrance.

Rock Rapids mayor Jason Chase says since it functions as a partial dam, the Army Corps of Engineers needs to know exact figures for how much water flow goes under the bridge, and then they need to make any new bridge do the same. He says it would be much easier if they had the original plans for the bridge. But since they do not, Chase says engineers from DGR are making measurements and are trying their best to come up with figures.

Chase says since the bridge doesn’t lead anywhere except into the park, and isn’t really a trail, it’s not eligible for most grants. The one funding source that would be available would be Grand Falls Casino gambling funds distributed through the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation.

But Chase says they need to have all their “ducks in a row”. For the foundation, they need to know how much it’s going to cost. To know that, they need to know what they need to build, and to know that, they need to know the flow figures.

He says it’s a long process, but the council knows the bridge is important to residents and other users of the park. He says they hope to be able to apply for the next round of Riverboat Foundation Grants.


Eleven Individuals Sentenced Following 2011 Drug Bust in Sheldon

Sheldon, Iowa — Eleven people have now been sentenced after a Drug Bust in O’Brien County last year, some of them to indeterminate 10-year prison terms.

O’Brien County Attorney Micah Schreurs says that the final criminal defendant involved in the July drug bust spearheaded by the Sheldon Police Department has been sentenced in the Iowa District Court for O’Brien County. Eleven individuals were initially arrested and charged with various drug offenses in O’Brien County after selling controlled substances to a confidential informant. Those eleven individuals have all pled guilty.

Sentenced for Delivery of Amphetamine were 40-year-old Norman and 46-year-old Ronda Clark.
Sentenced for three counts of Delivery of Lisdexamephetamine was 26-year-old Crystal Sheriff.
Sentenced for two counts of Delivery of Methadone was 31-year-old Blake Verschoor.
Sentenced for Delivery of Methamphetamine was 32-year-old Joshua Naig.

All of those crimes are class “C” felonies.

Sentenced for Delivery of Marijuana were 29-year-old Matthew Feucht, 19-year-old Cody Schmith, 22-year-old Stephan Johnson, and 20-year-old Jacob Megason. Feucht was also charged with failure to affix a drug tax stamp.

All of those crimes are class “D” felonies.

Sentenced for Delivery of Propoxyphene was 22-year-old Justin McClain. The charge is an aggravated misdemeanor.

Twenty-seven-year-old Leo Noble was sentenced for possession of Hydrocodone. Smith and Johnson were additionally sentenced for possession of marijuana. Those crimes are serious misdemeanors.

Verschoor was sentenced to fines and two indeterminate ten-year prison terms, to be served concurrently.

Naig and Norman Clark were sentenced to pay fines and serve indeterminate ten-year prison terms. Feucht was sentenced to pay fines and serve two indeterminate five-year prison terms, to be served consecutively.

The other defendants were sentenced to lesser penalties, some of them to time at the RTF, fines, and probation.

Several of the defendants were also required to pay restitution to the Iowa Great Lakes Task Force and had their driving privileges revoked. Osceola County Attorney Robert Hansen prosecuted two of the cases as a specially assigned prosecutor, and O’Brien County Attorney Micah Schreurs prosecuted the remaining nine cases.


1. Blake Verschoor, age 31, was sentenced for two counts of Delivery of Methadone (each a class C felony) and was required to pay fines totaling $2,000, plus various court costs and surcharges. He was also sentenced to concurrently serve two, indeterminate ten-year prison terms.

2. Norman Clark, age 40, was sentenced for Delivery of Amphetamine (a class C felony) and was required to pay a fine of $1,000 and various court costs and surcharges. He was also sentenced to serve an indeterminate ten-year prison term.

3. Joshua Naig, age 32, was sentenced for Delivery of Methamphetamine (a class C felony) and was required to pay a fine of $1,000 and various court costs and surcharges. He was also sentenced to serve an indeterminate ten-year prison term.

4. Crystal Sheriff, age 26, was sentenced for three counts of Delivery of Lisdexamphetamine (each a class C felony) and was required to pay a fine of $1,000 and various court costs and surcharges. She was also sentenced to concurrently serve three indeterminate ten-year prison terms, but those terms of incarceration were suspended and she was instead placed on probation with the Iowa Department of Corrections for three years. As a specific condition of that probation, Ms. Sheriff must temporarily reside at a residential treatment facility.

5. Ronda Clark, age 46, was sentenced for Delivery of Amphetamine (a class C felony) and was required to pay a fine of $1,000 and various court costs and surcharges. She was also sentenced to serve an indeterminate ten-year prison term, but that term of incarceration was suspended and she was instead placed on probation with the Iowa Department of Corrections for two years.

6. Matthew Feucht, age 29, was sentenced for Delivery of Marijuana and Failure to Affix a Drug Tax Stamp (each a class D felony) and was required to pay fines totaling $1,500, plus various court costs and surcharges. He was also sentenced to consecutively serve two, indeterminate five-year prison terms.

7. Cody Schmith, age 19, was sentenced for Delivery of Marijuana (a class D felony) and Possession of Marijuana (a serious misdemeanor) and was required to pay fines totaling $1,065, plus various court costs and surcharges. On the felony conviction, he was also sentenced to an indeterminate five-year prison term, but that term of incarceration was suspended and he was instead placed on probation with the Iowa Department of Corrections for three years. On the misdemeanor charge, he was also sentenced to a 364-day jail term, with all but seven days of that term suspended.

8. Stephen Johnson, age 22, was sentenced for Delivery of Marijuana (a class D felony) and Possession of Marijuana (a serious misdemeanor) and was required to pay fines totaling $1,065, plus various court costs and surcharges. On the felony conviction, he was also sentenced to an indeterminate five-year prison term, but that term of incarceration was suspended and he was instead placed on probation with the Iowa Department of Corrections for two years. On the misdemeanor charge, he was also sentenced to a thirty-day jail term, with all thirty days of that term suspended.

9. Jacob Megason, age 20, pled guilty to Delivery of Marijuana (a class D felon) and received a deferred judgment from the Court. He was required to pay a civil penalty of $750, and was placed on probation to the Iowa Department of Corrections for two years.

10. Justin McClain, age 22, was sentenced for Delivery of Propoxyphene (an aggravated misdemeanor) and was required to pay a fine of $625, plus various court costs and surcharges. He was also sentenced to a 364-day jail term, with all but seven days of that term suspended, and placed on probation to the Iowa Department of Corrections for two years.

11. Leo Noble, age 27, was sentenced for Possession of Hydrocodone (a serious misdemeanor) and was required to pay a fine of $500, plus various court costs and surcharges. He was also sentenced to a 364-day jail term, with all but fourteen days of that term suspended, and placed on probation to the O’Brien County Sheriff for one year.


Arnolds Park Restaurant Destroyed By Fire

Arnolds Park, Iowa — An Arnolds Park restaurant has been destroyed by fire.

The Arnolds Park-Okoboji Fire department reports that the call went out about 2 AM Monday morning to Mineral City in Arnolds Park. That’s about a third of a mile south of the East Lake/West Lake bridge on Highway 71.

No injuries were reported, and other nearby buildings appear to have been saved, but Mineral City is apparently a complete loss.

The cause of the fire is unknown as of yet, but is under investigation.

Location of Mineral City:

View Location Of Mineral City Mill & Grill in a larger map


Estherville Woman Drowns In East Lake Okoboji Over Weekend

Okoboji, Iowa — An Estherville woman has drowned in East Lake Okoboji.

The Dickinson County Sheriff’s Office reports that just before 2 AM on Sunday morning, they received a 911 call reporting a person missing from a boat in East Lake Okoboji. The Arnolds Park/Okoboji Dive Team was dispatched along with Spirit Lake Fire Department, DNR Lakes Patrol and several law enforcement agencies to the area of the boat ramp across from Kum & Go in Okoboji, about a half mile north of the East Lake/West Lake Bridge.

At approximately 6:45 a.m., while search operations were underway, crews conducting a shoreline search discovered the body of 26-year-old Jennifer Johnson from Estherville, in an area west of Chalstrom Beach. That’s about a half mile northeast of where the crews were originally sent.

An investigation into the incident concluded that the victim was swimming from a boat with others when she disappeared. The boat was driven by Tim DenHerder and owned by Josh Kirschbaum both of Spirit Lake.



Purple pushpin is where crews were dispatched. Red pushpin is where Jennifer Johnson’s body was found.


View Estherville Woman Drowns In East Lake Okoboji Over Weekend in a larger map


Lyon County Engineer On Administrative Leave; Board To Discuss Temporary Agreement With Osceola County

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Details are still sketchy, but an investigation is underway into the Lyon County Engineer.

Secondary Road Engineer Jeff Williams was placed on administrative leave by the Lyon County Board of Supervisors at a recent meeting.

According to the board minutes, Engineer Williams himself requested the board enter closed session under Iowa Code section 21.5 (I). That code is the one used to enter into closed session to evaluate the performance of an employee.

After they came out of closed session, County Supervisor Steve Michael made a motion to put Williams on administrative leave with pay and benefits. He specified that the county should take possession of Williams’ keys and vehicle, and that Williams should not be allowed in county buildings while the investigation is pending. The motion passed unanimously.

On the Lyon County Board’s agenda this Monday is a temporary Osceola and Lyon County Engineer Agreement.

We contacted County Sheriff Blythe Bloemendaal, who would only say Williams is under investigation and no charges have yet been filed.