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Sioux City Cops Wanted to Root Out Human Trafficking, So They Posted an Online Advertisement. Their Net Ensnared a Middle School Teacher With Condoms and Truly Seltzers.

iowa middle school teacher sentenced sex teen
Source: Woodbury County Sheriff's Office; Unsplash

Jun. 1 2023, Published 11:45 a.m. ET

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Authorities in Iowa attempted to identify people involved in human trafficking by posting an ad for sex services on a dating website, but instead just caught a middle school teacher trying to have sex with a 14-year-old girl, according to police.

According to the United States Attorney’s Office - Northern District of Iowa, authorities posted the advertisement on a “frequently used dating website.” The ad appeared to be from a 19-year-old woman offering to engage in sex acts for money.

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In July 2022, Andrew Heller, a middle school teacher in Wynot, Nebraska, and baseball coach at Sergeant Bluff High School, responded to the ad, authorities said.

Heller, 39, called the number in the ad and started communicating with a person he believed was a 14-year-old girl, but who was actually an undercover FBI agent, officials said.

Heller agreed to pay $200 cash and bring some Trulys in exchange for sex with the 14-year-old.

A meetup was scheduled with the “teen” and Heller showed up as planned in his vehicle, according to authorities.

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Police searched Heller and found the cash, Truly hard seltzer drinks and condoms, officials said.

On Jan. 13, Heller pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor.

He has now been sentenced to 10 years in prison and five years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $5,100 in special assessments, according to authorities.


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