Iowa police officer punished for using ride-along program to prey on teen participant

A former Iowa police officer took advantage of his position to prey on teenagers during the department’s ride-along program.

Michael Tobin, 35, a now-former Clarksville police lieutenant, had sex with his victim in 2021, then exchanged nude photos with her, according to court documents.

During the explicit photo swap, he wanted pictures of the teen and her friends, and he showed her photos of other naked teenagers that were evidence in a separate criminal investigation.

The presiding judge sentenced Tobin on Monday to 15 years in prison, nearly two months after a jury convicted Tobin on all 11 counts in the indictment. 

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Tobin was arrested in March 2022.

During the sentencing hearing, victims said they hoped Tobin’s time in prison would remind police that they would be held accountable for abuse of power, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported.

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Over the next year-plus, he fought the disturbing allegations in criminal and civil court, where two sisters accused Tobin of badgering them into having sex and taking advantage of their drive to become law enforcement officers. 

One of the victims, who was 16 at the time, had sex “countless” times in Tobin’s patrol car during the ride-along program while the teenager was on her lunch break, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported, based on court documents in the civil case.

She “never consented to sexual acts” with Tobin, according to the civil lawsuit filed in June, and Tobin allegedly repeatedly badgered her for sexual favors.

That “made her uncomfortable and she said no, until the requests from Tobin did not stop, and she eventually gave in, gave up and ignored her hesitation to comply,” the lawsuit alleged.

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From August 2021 through March 2022, Tobin allegedly sexually assaulted her at least 48 times. “No matter how many times she said she did not want to engage in sex with Tobin, he did not stop until the City of Clarksville fired him,” the lawsuit alleges.

The sisters, who did not know they were both being victimized by Tobin, went to their school officials, who relayed the accusations to the police. 

That ultimately led to an investigation and Tobin’s arrest and criminal charges. 

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Tobin was convicted of three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, all felonies and eight counts of possession of a depiction of a minor in a sex act first offense, all aggravated misdemeanors.

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