Kraigen Grooms, 19, was sentenced Monday by Judge Myron Gookin to serve a 10-year suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to one count of engaging in a lascivious act with a child. Grooms admitted to raping a 12 to 18-month baby girl in April 2013, when he was 16, while another man watched and recorded the crime.
The assault took place in April of 2014 in Ottumwa, Iowa.
Groom was released from jail with GPS monitoring after pleading guilty earlier this summer.
The judge in the case is facing extreme criticism after the sentencing, and the story is going viral.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Raped a Toddler and Filmed the Abuse
According to the Complaint and Affidavit obtained by the Ottumwa Post, “The defendant knowingly committed a sex act with a female child that appeared to be under the age of two years old. The defendant videoed himself [while committing the lewd acts]…”
The video showed Grooms attacking the child and he filmed the act while directly streaming it to an unidentified viewer online.
Grooms was sentenced on Monday to a 10-year suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to raping the little girl.
He was initially charged with second-degree sexual abuse, and faced a 25-year prison sentence.
2. He Was Identified With the Help of Social Media
Authorities discovered the pedophile through social media after finding the filmed rape of the toddler online.
Grooms was captured with the help of a website, MissingCases.com, the Ottumwa Post reported.
Tim Caya, who ran the page, said he posted a flyer with photos of Grooms and people swarmed him with comments stating that they knew of the perpetrator.
“There were hundreds of comments saying that they knew [Grooms], some went to school with him and they thought the person in the flyer looked just like him. I started looking at his pictures, he did look just like the guy on the flyer,” Caya told the Post.
Caya then went to authorities with the information, and Grooms was arrested just a couple of days after police asked for the public’s help in identifying him.
3. Police Believe He Plotted to Sexually Assault Another Child
Authorities believe the rape was premeditated and that Grooms had also targeted a 3-year-old boy for a similar assault, Raw Story reported.
The Ottumwa Post said the State gave the following statement in regards to the crime:
Forensic analysis of computers used in the transfer of the video recordings shows that the Defendant reported that he found the incident “so hot” and that the Defendant was making arrangements to sexually abuse an unidentified three-year-old male while the subject in New Orleans viewed and recorded the abuse. Analysis of computers seized from the Defendant’s home have discovered photographs of a male subject approximately three years old…
4. The Judge Is Facing Online Criticism, & a Petition Was Created to Get Him Fired
Judge Myron Gookin, who imposed a 10-year suspended sentence for Grooms, is facing heavy online criticism and a petition has been set up to get him fired.
The petition, which garnered almost 100,000 signatures at the time of this post, stated:
After raping a 2 year old child on video, and targeting a 3 year old child for the same abuse, Kraigen Grooms, 16 at the time of the crime, 17 at the time of arrest, only received 2 years in a juvenile detention and then the Wapello county jail, then Judge Gookin released Grooms with a 10 year suspended sentence.
This judge is sympathizing with a toddler rapist, this not the kind of corrupt judge we want or need. If he will not stand up for a toddler, who wil he stand for
A woman who claimed to be Grooms’ mother commented on an article in 2014, saying she believed her son should be punished but that she is not to blame:
some of you are horribly rediculous with your comments and yes i am the mother of this boy and yes he wll be punished for what he has done, but here is not 1 of you idiots that have the right to pass judgement on me as his mother that boy was provided with the best that i could give to him so for any 1 of you to say such horrible things when you have not 1 clue as to how he was raised and how dare you try to say that when a teenager commits a crime you automatically pass the blame to his parents, when some of the best kids commmit crimes and it sure in the heck isnt the fault of the parents.
5. He Will Be a Registered Sex Offender for Life
The judge required Grooms to register as a sex offender for life. If he fails to comply with the terms of his release he could spend 10 years in prison.
He was released from jail after pleading guilty to the rape in July.
The teen did spend time in a juvenile detention center and county jail because of delays that set the trial back two years, Ottumwa Radio reported.
*This story is being updated as information becomes available.