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Ruling: City employee to be detained pending trial

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS - Jeff Roads, a city employee, is detained after a hearing at the U.S. District Courthouse in Des Moines.

DES MOINES — A judge has ruled that Jeff Roads, a city of Marshalltown employee arrested on a federal transportation of child porn charge, will remain detained pending trial.

Chief Magistrate Judge Helen C. Adams said she found Roads’ alleged actions to be “disturbing and egregious” after hearing testimony from FBI Special Agent Chris Thomas at a combined preliminary and detention hearing Monday evening, according to the ruling released Tuesday.

During Monday’s hearing, Thomas shared evidence of hundreds of thousands of image files found on Roads’ iPhone, including many which Thomas determined to contain child pornography.

Thomas also said he found child pornography shared on the Kik messaging app that was downloaded onto Roads’ phone. He said Roads created an account and shared images depicting female minors in sexually explicit and suggestive ways. Thomas also said the chats on the app contained conversations about child rape.

“The evidence is strong in that evidence of the crime was found on defendant’s personal phone and there over 100 images of child pornography found on the phone and thousands of images left to review on the phone and other electronic devices,” Adams wrote in her ruling. “Defendant (Roads), if convicted, faces a mandatory minimum prison term of five years and potentially a much longer term.”

Roads

Adams also said Monday’s court proceedings showed that Roads needs a mental health evaluation and that he has threatened self-harm.

Marshalltown City Administrator Jessica Kinser confirmed Tuesday that Roads’ city-provided work phone was an iPhone. She said they believe his personal phone was also an iPhone.

Per the city’s “Appropriate use of the City of Marshalltown’s Computing and Network Resources and Equipment” general information document, city employees are to “avoid sexual harassment, voyeurism, and other sexual behavior” when using the city equipment or while using the internet and email on city-owned devices. City officials and employees are to only use the city’s computer-based services for city business purposes.

At Monday’s hearing, Thomas said Roads’ confiscated iPhone was named “Jeff’s Work Phone.”

As of Tuesday, Kinser said Roads is still a city employee. She has said the city is consulting legal counsel on next steps regarding Roads, and said an arrest and being charged is not the same as a conviction.

Court records show that the defense may appeal Adams’ decision to detain Roads to a U.S. District Court judge.

A party may also request another detention hearing if there is new information related to the decision to detain Roads. That can happen if the new information was not known at the time of the initial detention hearing.

Roads is being held in Polk County Jail pending trial.

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 1 p.m. Tuesday with information from the city on Roads’ work phone.