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Former Cedar Rapids man who later lived in a cave receives 23-year sentence for child-porn charges September 28, 2008

Posted by John in Children, Crime/Courts.
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From Deseret News Saturday:

A man convicted on child pornography charges has been sentenced to serve 23 years in federal prison. Russell Eugene Blessman, 52, was sentenced in federal court in Salt Lake City earlier this week to serve 276 months in federal prison, and a lifetime of probation when he is released. …

October 2007 Gazette article:

Cedar Rapids native arrested in Utah on sexual abuse charges
The Gazette

A former resident of Cedar Rapids and Marion was arrested Wednesday in Utah on sexual abuse charges, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

Acting on a tip, U.S. Marshals from Salt Lake City arrested Russell E. Blessman at a motel in Heber City, about 40 miles south of Salt Lake, said Deputy Michael Powell, spokesman for the U.S. Marshals in Iowa’s Southern District.

Blessman, 51, of Polk City, fled Iowa in June, after the Polk County Attorney charged him with two counts of second-degree sexual abuse involving an 8-year-old girl and one count of contempt of court for violating a no-contact order.

Police also seized several computers and computer storage devices from Blessman’s motel room. Ken Wallentine, chief of law enforcement at the Utah Attorney General’s Office, told the Deseret News in Salt Lake City that he was “virtually certain” Blessman will face additional child exploitation charges for child pornography found on those devices.

Wallentine said Blessman arrived in Utah in June and lived in a cave for a period.

Gazette archives show Blessman lived in Cedar Rapids and Marion, most recently in northeast Cedar Rapids 1998.

Additional details from October Deseret News, including:

Capture of Iowa sex suspect has bizarre twist

… While in Iowa, Wallentine said, Blessman paid someone a “substantial amount of money” to convert him into a Cherokee Indian. He then encouraged Blessman to go to Utah to hide out with a group near Green River that claims to be an Indian tribe.

Blessman traveled to Utah approximately four months ago and actually lived in a cave for some time, Wallentine said. He claims he was ordained a tribal police officer for the group. …

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