DAVENPORT, Iowa — A Geneseo man recently made his first federal court appearance in a child sex case.
Tristan S. Blank, 22, pleaded not guilty July 24 to five counts of sexual exploitation of a child before Chief U.S. District Judge Sara Darrow.
The federal case alleges Blank "did employ, use, persuade, induce, entice and coerce" five minors "to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct" and that such material would be transported in interstate and foreign commerce, online court documents state.
The alleged offenses occurred between April 2016 through August 2018, with those timeframes varying for each victim in Henry County. Each count, if convicted, carries a maximum federal prison term of 30 years.
Blank was arrested in November 2018 after the Geneseo and Kewanee police departments had worked together to have an officer pose as a juvenile to meet with Blank. Three 2018 Henry County felony cases — including charges ranging from possession of child porn, solicitation of a minor, traveling to meet a minor, grooming and sexual abuse of a minor — have been dismissed, but could be reopened by prosecutors at a later date, likely because of the federal prosecution.
Online Henry County court records indicated Blank hasn't left police custody since his November arrest. He remains in custody following his federal indictment, which a federal grand jury handed down in May.
Blank is being represented by federal Public Defender Brian Mullins and will return to federal court for a pretrial hearing Aug. 28. The earliest his case could go to trial in federal court would be September.
Robert Connelly: (309) 343-7181, ext. 266; firstname.lastname@example.org; @RConnelly_