from the Iowa District Court for Fayette County, Richard D.
defendant challenges his sentence for sexual abuse in the
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Timothy M. Hau, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.
accepting Scott Franzen's pleas of guilty to two counts
of sexual abuse against a fourteen-year-old girl, the
district court imposed ten-year consecutive sentences-for a
total prison term not to exceed twenty years. Franzen
appeals, contending the district court abused its sentencing
discretion. Because the record reveals nothing unreasonable
about the chosen sentence, we affirm.
March and April 2015, Franzen-at age thiry-eight-committed
sex acts with a minor, named in our record as Jane Doe. As a
result of Franzen's acts, Doe became pregnant. The State
charged Franzen with three counts of sexual abuse in the
third degree, in violation of Iowa Code section 709.4(1)
(2015). He pleaded guilty to two counts-count I, in violation
of section 709.4(1)(a),  was a forcible felony, and count II, in
violation of section 709.4(1)(b)(3)(d),  was not.
See Iowa Code § 702.11. At sentencing, the
parties debated whether the court should order a prison
sentence for count II and, if so, whether it should run
concurrently or consecutively to the mandatory sentence on
considering the arguments, as well as the presentence
investigation (PSI) report, the district court imposed
indeterminate ten-year sentences for both counts, running
them consecutively because of the damages Franzen's
actions caused "not just to the fourteen-year-old victim
but to everyone associated with this case. This wasn't an
isolated incident." The court noted the offenses
resulted in "the pregnancy of a very young girl,
resulting in a birth. She gave up a child for adoption. I do
take all of these things into consideration." The
district court also imposed, but suspended, the fines
"during [Franzen's] period of good behavior
following [his] release from prison." In addition, the
court imposed the "special sentence" of lifetime
parole under Iowa Code section 903B.1. Franzen now appeals.
review Franzen's sentence for correction of legal error
and will not reverse unless we find an abuse of discretion or
a defect in the sentencing procedure. See State v.
Formaro, 638 N.W.2d 720, 724 (Iowa 2002). Because his
sentence was within the statutory limits, we entertain a
presumption in its favor. See id. A district court
abuses its discretion when it chooses a sentence on untenable
grounds. State v. Hill, 878 N.W.2d 269, 272 (Iowa
2016). The grounds are untenable when they are "not
supported by substantial evidence" or are "based on
an erroneous application of the law." Id.
(quoting State v. Putman, 848 N.W.2d 1, 8 (Iowa
first argues the district court misperceived the sentencing
options available for count II, third-degree sexual abuse
under section 709.4(1)(b)(3)(d). This sexual-abuse
alternative is commonly referred to as statutory rape,
see State v. Oliver, 812 N.W.2d 636, 651 (Iowa
2012), and is exempted from the list of forcible felonies
under Iowa Code section 702.11(2)(c). Because statutory rape
is not a forcible felony, the district court was not limited
to imposing incarceration for that offense. See Iowa
Code § 907.3.
plea and sentencing transcripts undercut Franzen's
argument. The discussion between the parties and the district
court shows an understanding that only count I, third-degree
sexual abuse, in violation of section 709.4(1)(a), was a
forcible felony requiring incarceration. For instance, in its
sentencing recommendation, the prosecution said: "The
State is asking that the court impose prison on the second
count and that you impose it consecutive with count I."
The record does not suggest the district court harbored any
mistaken belief that count II required imposition of a prison
next contends the sentencing court offered "several
reasons for imposition of consecutive sentences, but no
reasons for incarceration on count II." We find no merit
in Franzen's contention. The sentencing court noted the
PSI drafter recommended concurrent sentences because of
Franzen's low risk of re-offending, but the court found
concurrent sentences inappropriate because of his repeated
conduct and its impact on the young sex-abuse victim. The
court's rationale complied with the Hill
court's instruction to sentencing courts to explicitly
state reasons for imposing consecutive sentences. 878 N.W.2d
at 275. We find the sentencing court's logic behind
ordering consecutive sentences suffices to show why it opted
to impose a prison term on count II. See id.
(allowing sentencing court to cite same reasons for running
terms consecutively as it relies on for ordering
advances one additional complaint concerning his sentence. He
argues the district court's suspension of the fines
conditioned on the offender's "period of good
behavior following [his] release from prison" had the
effect of "splitting the sentence between imprisonment
and probation, " ...