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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Vander Esch denied parole

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Lawrence Vander Esch, founder of the Pizza Ranch chain of restaurants and former Sioux County Treasurer, has been denied his request for parole by the Iowa Board of Parole.

Vander Esch, 58, formerly of Hull and currently an inmate at the Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility of the Iowa Department of Corrections, sought to obtain an early release from prison.

Sioux County Attorney Melissa O'Rourke appeared before the parole board on behalf of the victims of Vander Esch.

O'Rourke read excerpts of three letters from victims of Vander Esch, as well as a letter from one victim in its entirety.

The Board of Parole denied Vander Esch's request Aug. 9.

Vander Esch pleaded guilty in August 2001 to four counts of sexual abuse and was sentenced to 10 years in prison on each count, with those sentence to run concurrently. The Department of Corrections has a scheduled release date for Vander Esch in March 2006.

The charges against Vander Esch arose from an investigation which revealed that Vander Esch had engaged in a pattern of sexual abuse with adolescent males as his victims.

Vander Esch later appealed his convictions, alleging the adolescents had consented to sexual contact. The Iowa Court of Appeals disagreed and affirmed the convictions in November 2002.

Once Vander Esch is released from prison, he must register as a sex offender. All of his victims will be notified of his release date.

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