TV6 INVESTIGATES: Juror’s social media post could result in new trial in Burlington rape case

Published: Dec. 19, 2019 at 7:03 PM CST
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A Burlington man convicted by a jury in the rape of a woman in August will appear in front of a judge again in early 2020.

Steven Mauck was found guilty of 2nd-degree Sexual Abuse by a Des Moines County jury in November.

On December 17, Mauck filed a Motion for a New Trial.

The motion comes days after Mauck submitted a hand-written letter to Judge Brown, who presided over the case, asking for a new trial and/or an appeal.

In Mauck’s letter to the judge, he wrote, “I fear this to be a time sensitive issue.” He went on to write, “During the course of my trial you swore the jury to an oath and also gave very specific instructions about not discussing the trial until it’s conclusion, as well as not do any research or read any news articles.”

“However, on November 22nd, 2019, at approximately 4 a.m., Mr. [juror], of the jury, made a public post on his Facebook account soliciting prayers for the jury and praying that “one of the longest weeks of his life would soon be over,” wrote Mauck.

TV6 News is not naming the juror out of concerns for his privacy.

Mauck also said in his note to Judge Brown that the juror belongs to a closed Facebook group, which posted articles about the case daily during the trial.

According to the letter, Mauck says, “There is evidence to suggest Mr. [juror] was reading these articles, and their comments, during the trial.” He goes on to write, “Although brief in it’s nature, Mr. [juror’s] post is a major cause for concern. Because the post is of a public nature on a social media site, it is no different than if Mr. [juror] had given a quote to member of the mainstream media.”

Des Moines County Attorney Lisa Schaefer says their office is aware of the post, but their main concern lies more with how the information was received by Mauck.

Right now, she says they’re working to figure out how Mauck had knowledge of the post. Schaefer says Mauck has been incarcerated since his August arrest, with no access to a computer or cell phone, let alone Facebook.

Schaefer tells TV6 they are working with Burlington Police to determine how Mauck was able to obtain this information.

She says the office is concerned at the thought of defendants and/or proxies keeping an eye on jurors and gaining access to their information.

Schaefer calls the post “fairly innocuous” in nature.

As for the next steps, it is in the hands of the judge, who will decide whether there was wrongdoing by the juror in question.

Mauck will now have a hearing on the Motion for a New Trial on January 6. If the judge denies the motion, sentencing for Mauck will be rescheduled for the same day at 2 p.m.

UPDATE 11/25/19:

A man has been found guilty of 2nd-degree sexual abuse in Burlington.

On Monday, Nov. 25, Mauck was found guilty by a jury after a four and a half-day trial.

Officials say the jury deliberated for less than three hours before reaching their guilty verdict.

Mauck's sentencing has been set for January, 2020. He faces a mandatory sentence of 25 years with a mandatory minimum of 70 percent.

ORIGINAL 08/19/19:

A Burlington man is under arrest after police say he sexually assaulted a woman at gunpoint in her home Tuesday.

Steven A. Mauck, 37, is charged with felony sexual abuse with more charges pending, police said.

Mauck is accused of physically and sexually assaulting a woman at her residence on North 8th Street after gaining entrance late Tuesday night “through the use of deceit,” police said.

Mauck was arrested Wednesday afternoon in the 1200-block of Linden Street.