Sex abuse conviction leads to 10-year prison sentence

Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Paul Francis Hicks

A Spirit Lake man was sentenced to 10 years in prison after he entered an Alford plea to allegations that he had sexual contact with a young child.

Paul Francis Hicks was arrested for second-degree sexual assault a Class B felony after a search at 2704 Keokuk Ave. on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016. He entered a "not guilty" plea a month later at the Dickinson County Courthouse.

The accusations date back to 2008, when investigators think he touched and performed sex acts on a female victim who was between 5 and 7 years old at the time.

Hicks was convicted on Nov. 6 on a lesser Class C felony charge of lascivious acts with a child as part of a plea agreement reached with the Dickinson County Attorney's Office. The 62-year-old agreed to an Alford plea before District Court Judge Nancy Whittenburg Alford pleas allow defendants to assert their innocence, while acknowledging that enough evidence exists to make a conviction probable.

Sentencing was handled by District Court Judge David Lester. Hicks was ordered to report to the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Oakdale. Time already served will count toward his 10-year sentence.

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