#minorsextrafficking | Former Four Oaks youth counselor charged with sexually abusing 14-year-old boy

CEDAR RAPIDS — A former youth counselor at Four Oaks has been arrested on accusations she sexually abused a 14-year-old boy who was a resident at the facility and then harbored him last year when he was on the run from juvenile authorities.

Danielle V. Hook, 29, formerly of Marion, was arrested Friday in Story County by Linn County sheriff’s deputies, according to court documents. A warrant for her arrest was issued June 30 on charges of third-degree sexual abuse, sex exploitation by a counselor and harboring a runaway.

Sixth Judicial Associate District Judge Nicholas Scott set bail Friday at $15,000 and Hook posted it that same day.

A criminal complaint asserts Hook had sexual contact with a teenager from July 1, 2017, through Nov. 30, 2018, while she was employed as a counselor with Four Oaks at 1341 Bertram St. in Cedar Rapids. She is also accused of having sex with the teen Jan. 10, 2019, and harboring him when he was 15 on or about Feb. 11, 2019.

An investigation by the Iowa Department of Human Services and juvenile court services shows that after Hook was fired from Four Oaks, it was discovered the teen was living with her in Marion as juvenile authorities sought him.

Investigators also discovered Hook gave birth to the teen’s child, which was confirmed by a DNA test, according to the criminal complaint. The teen is now 16.

Debbie Craig, chief advocacy officer with the Four Oaks family and youth services organization, declined to verify Hook’s employment dates there, citing the ongoing investigation.

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“Four Oaks’ foremost responsibility and priority is for the safety of the children in our care, their families, the community and our staff,” Craig said.

A search warrant obtained last year by The Gazette provides more details surrounding the investigation.

The Linn County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by Chad Deahl, with Linn County Juvenile Court, who had information about a possible “sex trafficking and sex abuse” at Four Oaks, the warrant affidavit states.

Deahl supervised a 17-year-old who was discharged from Four Oaks in December 2018. After the teen attempted suicide by overdose last year, Deahl learned the 17-year-old had been roommates with the 14-year-old at the facility.

The 17-year-old admitted he and the younger teen had sex with Hook in the basement of a cottage at Four Oaks.

Hook, up until the end of November 2018, was in a position of authority over male youths on their daily routines and programs at Four Oaks, the affidavit stated.

The 17-year-old, since his release from Four Oaks, had been staying at Hook’s mobile home on the weekends, along with the 14-year-old.

Human Services and the Linn County Sheriff’s Office started an investigation and Marion police were asked to check Hook’s residence.

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On Feb. 11, 2019, Marion police went to Hook’s home and she denied multiple times the 14-year-old was there, according to the affidavit, but wouldn’t let officers inside. However, a Cedar Rapids man who had a warrant out for his arrest was at the home and told officers the 14-year-old was “hiding” in a back bedroom.

Hook “reluctantly” admitted the teen was there and officers arrested him and took him to the Story County Juvenile Facility, according to the warrant.

There are no public records available to confirm if the teen remains at the facility.

Authorities confiscated cellphones from Hook and the teen as evidence. They also seized the 17-year-old’s cellphone and he was interviewed at the UnityPoint Health Child Protection Center in Hiawatha, court documents show.

Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden said he asked the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation to assist in this case because most of the witnesses are from Story County and from the western part of the state. The charges were delayed because additional investigation and testing were needed.

An assistant Iowa Attorney General will prosecute the case in Linn County District Court because that office has expertise with these types of cases, Vander Sanden said.

If convicted on all charges, Hook faces up to 17 years in prison. A sex exploitation conviction carries a mandatory five-year sentence.

Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com


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