A convicted sexual offender was arrested after police said he used his role as a photographer to lure underage girls into posing for nude photos.
Randall Paul Trenary, 47, was arrested at 8 p.m. Monday in Sherrill, Iowa, on a warrant charging sexual exploitation of minors. The Hazel Green, Wis., man was being held Tuesday in Dubuque County Jail on a $50,000 cash bond.
Authorities anticipate additional victims being identified and, hopefully, coming forward, said Lt. Scott Baxter, a Dubuque Police Department spokesman.
Police said they received information July 23 about Trenary taking photographs of nude girls and also sharing nude images with them.
Investigators said they interviewed several girls who confirmed they participated in photography sessions with Trenary over the past several months, in and around Dubuque County. According to court documents, the girls said Trenary often would ask them to send nude images of themselves to him via cellphone. He also allegedly asked them if they would participate in nude photography sessions with him.
Trenary made initial contact with most of the girls via two Facebook pages: Buddy Rand Trenary and Trenary Photography LLC. Online state records show that business was registered with the state of Wisconsin in 2010, with Trenary listed as the business' registered agent.
Baxter said the case appears to be a situation in which a convicted sexual predator used the facade of being a legitimate photographer to lure his victims. It's a common technique, he added.
"Once he established contact, he continued to build rapport and trust by using flattery, promises of modeling careers and purchasing gifts for his victims," he said. "It's a perfect example of a convicted adult sexual predator taking advantage of innocent female minors."
According to Iowa Courts Online, Trenary was convicted in 2001 of indecent exposure. In September 2000, police reported they arrested him after he exposed himself to a woman in the parking lot of Eagle Country Market, 300 S. Locust St., Dubuque.
Baxter said the case is an opportunity for law enforcement to reinforce the importance of parents and guardians communicating with children about this type of predatory behavior and the dangers of sharing too much online or via other venues. It's important that parents and guardians know what their children's online and offline activities are and thoroughly research the person or business they employ for such services, Baxter said.
"This also illustrates the importance of speaking up when something doesn't seem right -- whether you're the potential victim or just a witness," Baxter said. "Thankfully, in this case, someone did just that."
Dubuque investigators were assisted by the Grant County Sheriff's Department and Hazel Green Police Department, who authorities said provided evidence that corroborated the girls' statements.
The charge is a class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $10,000 upon conviction. Trenary's initial court appearance is scheduled for 10:15 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, in Dubuque District Court.
Anyone with information pertaining to Trenary is asked to call Cpl. Brendan Welsh, 563-589-4430, or Capt. Scott Engleman, 563-589-4467, of the Dubuque Police Department.