Defendants in Johnston Sexual Assault Appear in Court, Plead Not Guilty

Ritter Stahlbaum and Morgan Hough (WHO-HD)

POLK COUNTY, Iowa – The four teens accused of sexually assaulting a fellow Johnston High School student appeared in Polk County court Monday for their arraignments.

Eighteen-year-old Morgan Hough and 17-year-old Ritter Stahlbaum are charged with 2nd degree sexual abuse, first degree robbery, and felony assault–penetration of the genitalia-anus. Fifteen-year-olds Kaden Dishman and Noah Lamar are charged with first degree robbery and felony assault–penetration of the genitalia-anus.

All four defendants have entered pleas of not guilty in the case. During the arraignment pre-trial dates were set for December 14th and trial dates for January 22nd in all cases.

Online court records say two defendants, Dishman and Lamar, have entered into plea agreements with the state but during Monday’s hearing a plea date was set for only one defendant – Noah Lamar. That is scheduled to take place Friday.

Dishman and Lamar were originally charged in juvenile court but their cases have been transferred to district court with a youthful offender waiver. That means the juvenile court will provide supervision until the two turn 18. At that time the district court will assess the situation. Polk County Attorney John Sarcone says the court has “a variety of options” on what to do at that time.

Court documents say the defendants “did commit Assault Forcible Sodomy by using an object to penetrate the genitalia or anus” of the victim on September 8th. They were arrested on September 28th.

Court rules prevented media from recording images and sound of Noah Lamar and Kaden Dishman during the arraignment.

All four defendants are free on bond.