MASON CITY | A Britt man has been convicted of sexually assaulting two girls he knew from January 2005 to September 2008 in Winnebago County.
Chad Allen Bonner, 48, was found guilty by Judge Gregg Rosenbladt after Bonner waived his right to a jury trial. The trial before the judge was Feb. 6-8.
Before reading the verdict in court on April 6, Rosenbladt detailed the years of abuse Bonner committed against the girls, which included him reaching his hand down their pants and touching their genitals.
Both girls initially denied the sex abuse when interviewed by the Department of Human Services in 2008, but then later told authorities about the acts of sex abuse, which occurred in Forest City and Thompson.
In Iowa law, sexual assault and rape are charged as "sexual abuse."
One of the girls told her mother about the abuse in 2017 before authorities were notified. The other girl disclosed the abuse in 2017 as well.
Judge Rosenbladt also said he found Miranda Kracke, a forensic interviewer for the Child Protection Center in Waterloo, to be credible.
"While not vouching for the credibility of either witness, Ms. Kracke explained the dynamics of delayed reporting and memory issues in a convincing manner, as regards child victims in general," he said in court.
After the verdict was read, family members and friends of both Bonner and the victims cried and embraced each other outside the courtroom at the Cerro Gordo County Law Enforcement Complex.
Assistant Iowa Attorney General Coleman McAllister, the prosecutor in the case, told the Globe Gazette he was pleased with the verdict.
Judge Rosenbladt set a hearing on April 24 at 2 p.m. at the Winnebago County Courthouse. McAllister said the state argued that since Bonner was previously convicted of third-degree sex abuse in 1991, his punishment should be more severe.
He added two issues were separated at the time of the trial: whether Bonner was guilty of the two sex abuse charges in the current case, and whether he is the same person convicted for sex abuse in 1991.
"The judge will have to decide on (April) 24, can we prove he is the same person that was convicted in Cerro Gordo County back in 1991? If he is, that enhances his punishment to a life sentence," McAllister said.
Steve Kloberdanz, the defense attorney representing Bonner, denied those previous charges from 1991 in court. He declined comment following the hearing.