DES MOINES, IA – On Tuesday, November 10, 2020, Robert Joe Hennings, age 33, of Des Moines, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger to 240 months in federal prison, to be followed by 20 years of federal court supervision, for receipt of child pornography, announced United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum. Hennings was ordered to forfeit the electronic media used in the offense, pay $15,000 in restitution to victims, and pay $100 to the Crime Victims’ Fund. Hennings was also ordered to register as a sex offender after his release.
According to the record made at sentencing, Hennings collected in excess of 550,000 images of child pornography over a three-year period, including material involving sexual assaults on prepubescent minors, including an infant. The sentence was, in part, a reflection of the danger Hennings posed to children, based on the Court’s finding that he engaged in chats with others where he expressed his desire to have sex with boys younger than five years old and said he wanted to purchase a young prostitute under five years of age.
The case was a joint federal-state effort involving both the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation Task Force and the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa as part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Childhood” initiative, which was started in 2006 as a nation-wide effort to combine law enforcement investigations and prosecutions, community action, and public awareness in order to reduce the incidence of sexual exploitation of children. Any persons having knowledge of a child being sexually abused are encouraged to call the Iowa Sexual Abuse Hotline at 1-800-284-7821.