Father claims official used county computer to sexually solicit a teenage boy
Clay County Assessor Larry Rozeboom has resigned following allegations that he used a county computer and cell phone to try to solicit sexual acts with a teenage boy on a website called gay.com during a county-paid stay at the Savery Hotel in Des Moines. The former assessor also allegedly told the teen that he had engaged in sexual acts with boys at a Tijuana, Mexico, sex club during another county-sponsored trip to a convention recently.
A search warrant was executed at the Clay County Assessor's Office August 20. Law enforcement officials seized an IBVM ThinkPad laptop computer, other computer equipment, and one sticky note with a name and phone number in the 402 area code written on it.
The search warrant, served by officer David Jones, a 10-year veteran of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), stems from an alleged Internet based contact involving Rozeboom and an unidentified underage male minor on August 17. Clay County Attorney Mike Zenor said that per a conversation with Rozeboom's attorney Ned Bjornstad, Rozenboom submitted his resignation as county assessor Friday.
Zenor added there have been no charges immediately filed.
"Charges will depend on whether the DCI's analysis of the computer verifies the information given by the informant and upon whether we're able to locate the informant and whether the informant will testify if located.
"In any event, our office will refer either the attorney general or the U.S. attorney and one of those offices will be making the decision whether to prosecute."
Attempts to reach Rozeboom were not immediately successful.
Based on the information included in the warrant, Rozeboom allegedly, while staying at the Savery Hotel in downtown Des Moines, engaged in an Internet conversation with a boy he believed to be 16 years old. The conversation, which is reported to have taken place in a chat room, gay.com, on the evening of August 17 or perhaps into the morning of August 18, eventually led to Rozeboom soliciting unspecified sexual activities, according to the warrant.
In the court document, it is alleged that Rozeboom forwarded his cell phone number - it was traced back to a phone owned by Clay County - and a nude picture of himself to the boy, who was actually 17 years of age. He also was reported to have shared with the young man information regarding a trip to Tijuana, Mexico.
He allegedly admitted to having engaged in sexual acts with underage boys while at a sex club known as Club Extasis. The trip to Tijuana, according to the information in he warrant, took place while Rozeboom was attending a conference in San Diego, CA earlier this month.
The staff of the Savery Hotel did confirm that Rozeboom used the Internet during his stay from August 15-18, but could not give specifics regarding its use. The cost of the room at the Savery was billed directly to the county assessor's office. The trip to San Diego was to attend a conference regarding global positioning and mapping. County officials confirm in the warrant information that the laptop, which was seized in the execution of the search warrant, was absent from the county assessor's office during both the San Diego and Des Moines trip.
County supervisor Sylvia Schoer acknowledged that she was aware of the ongoing investigation but had little knowledge regarding specifics of the matter.
Rozeboom was reappointed county assessor in 1998. He was in the final year of his term.
According to the affidavit in support of the application for the search warrant, Jobes indicated that the investigation arose from a complaint received by Clay County Sheriff Randy Krukow, the Iowa DCI Special Agent Supervisor J. Robert Henderson, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The anonymous complaint was submitted by the father of the 17-year-old, who disclosed no personal information.
The father reportedly cited abusive attention to the victim in the sexual abuse case of pro basketball star Kobe Bryant for his motivation in not wanting his son's identity made public.
Excerpts from the warrant affidavit, the man soliciting the sexual contact was using the name Marty00 in the chat room, later identifying himself as "Larry." Officials are uncertain how the child's father came to know Rozeboom's last name.
The man had reportedly told the boy to come to the Savery Hotel, room 928, and gave him a cell phone number. The number belongs to a cell phone for the assessor's office, and the room number matches the one in which Rozeboom was registered.