August 14, 2015

Iowa Couple Sentenced to 40 Years for Kidnapping, Sex Trafficking, and Torturing a Young Woman

RICHMOND, VA—Aldair Hodza, 36, and Laura Sorensen, 31, of Clive, Iowa, were sentenced today for their roles in a heinous crime involving the kidnapping, forced prostitution, and torture of a young woman the couple kidnapped in Iowa.

Hodza was sentenced to 500 months (41.6 years) in prison and Sorensen was sentenced to 480 months (40 years) in prison, each to be followed by 20 years of supervised release. They were also ordered to pay restitution to the victim for her medical care, and both will be required to register as sex offenders. Hodza, who is not a United States citizen, will be subject to deportation upon completion of his sentence.

“This couple coerced and kidnapped a young woman who trusted them,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “They drugged her, physically and sexually abused her, prostituted her, and tortured her. For that, they will spend the better part of the rest of their lives in prison. The Eastern District of Virginia has always aggressively pursued sex trafficking crimes, and we will continue to do so. I would like to thank the trial team of Angela Mastandrea-Miller, Heather Hart, and Dominick Gerace, and our investigative partners for their hard work on this case.”

“This case shocks our conscience and reminds us that evil does exist in the world,” said Adam S. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office. “There is no punishment for the perpetrators of this heinous crime which will undo the trauma suffered by their victim. I hope today’s sentencing, however, gives her some comfort that they no longer pose a threat. The quick thinking and heroic action by a trucker and the keen instinct and honed professionalism of a Virginia State Police trooper are what saved the victim in this case. The FBI thanks each of them for their vigilance and service. Success in cases like this requires citizens to be aware of their surroundings and immediately report suspicious situations to authorities.”

Hodza and Sorensen pleaded guilty to charges of sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion, and interstate transportation of a person for prostitution on May 1, 2015. According to court documents, the defendants admitted that on Dec. 19, 2014, they convinced the victim to join them in their recreational vehicle (RV) using a ruse. When the victim arrived, the defendants took away her phone, forced her to consume alcohol and marijuana, and sexually assaulted her. The defendants told the victim that she was no longer free to leave, and they forced her into prostitution for the next several days.

On Christmas Eve 2014, the defendants began their trip to Virginia to visit Hodza’s minor daughter, forcing the victim to accompany them. The defendants attempted to prostitute the victim along the trip at various truck stops. Upon arriving in Virginia several days later, the pair went to various campgrounds in Virginia and North Carolina, where they continued to force the victim to engage in prostitution. During this time, the defendants engaged in a pattern of torture and abuse toward the victim while Hodza’s minor daughter was present in the RV. This included “hog-tying” the victim and holding her down while they burned her on her back and abdomen with a key and scissors that had been heated on a stove; kicking her repeatedly and viciously, causing severe injuries to the victims legs, abdomen, and torso; putting cigarettes out on the victim’s back and chest; whipping the victim with a rope; driving nails into the victim’s feet; spraying bleach into the victim’s wounds; and hitting her over the head with a bottle. The defendants repeatedly told the victim that they were going to kill her.

On Jan. 6, 2015, New Kent County Sheriff’s Deputies and Virginia State Police troopers responded to a call at a gas station in Providence Forge, Virginia, after a concerned truck driver observed suspicious behavior coming from the RV. Upon arriving, the officers entered the RV and observed the victim displaying signs of fright and malnourishment. They removed her from the RV to speak with her alone, at which time the victim told the officers that she had been kidnapped and was being held against her will. The victim showed the officers some of the injuries that had been inflicted on her by Hodza and Sorensen. The victim was immediately transported to the hospital where she remained in the burn unit for more than a week. Seven months after being rescued, the victim is still being treated for her injuries.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Adam S. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson, who cited the depravity and severe torture inflicted by the defendants on the victim, and the long-term damage the defendants caused to the victim and Hodza’s daughter as just some of the reasons for imposing the sentences of 40 plus years.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, the New Kent County Police Department, and Virginia State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Angela Mastandrea-Miller, Heather L. Hart, and Dominick S. Gerace prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:15-cr-032.