Submitted: January 13, 2017
from United States District Court for the Southern District
of Iowa - Davenport
WOLLMAN, MURPHY, and MELLOY, Circuit Judges.
WOLLMAN, Circuit Judge.
Michael Riepe was convicted by a jury of one count of
attempted enticement of a minor in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 2422(b). The district courtsentenced him to 151
months' imprisonment. He appeals, arguing that the
evidence was insufficient to convict him of the charged
offense and that the district court erred in admitting
evidence of his prior bad acts under Federal Rule of Evidence
404(b). We affirm.
September 17, 2014, a letter addressed to "[MB], a very
special student" was delivered to a high school in
Bettendorf, Iowa. MB was a female student who was then
fifteen years old. The letter was signed "John
Riepe" and listed no return address. It explained that
Riepe had met MB at the Bettendorf YMCA some eight or nine
months earlier but had not seen her since. He described his
appearance and enclosed a picture of himself. The letter
invited MB to contact Riepe, using the phone number set forth
therein. The letter went on to state that Riepe might attend
MB's sporting events or otherwise "see [her]
around." MB recalled at trial that Riepe had approached
her at the YMCA, that the two had exchanged small talk, and
that she might have seen him there on one other occasion.
MB showed the letter to her parents, they took it to the
police. A check of the police department's computer
system revealed that Riepe was thirty years old and lived
near a high school in Davenport, Iowa. With the permission of
MB and her parents, Detective Rachelle Kunde of the Scott
County Sheriff's Office, a member of the Iowa Internet
Crimes Against Children Task Force, began sending text
messages to Riepe at the number he had provided, purporting
to be MB.
and Riepe began exchanging text messages on September 22,
2014. After Kunde told Riepe that she had received his
letter, Riepe suggested that the two exercise together again,
stating that he "missed [his] [MB]." Riepe stated
that "its nice to b able to talk to a rational girl for
[once] and your so hot." Kunde then complimented
Riepe's appearance and said, "U know wht is super
cool? that u don't treat me like a kid bcuz im 15!"
Riepe asked when he could see her again and suggested that he
attend her sporting events. Kunde responded that they could
not meet at school or otherwise be seen together.
September 26, Kunde texted Riepe, "hey! what u
doin?" Riepe replied that he was watching television and
thinking about MB. Riepe stated, "Gosh I love u lol
!" ("lol" means "laugh out loud" in
text-message speak). On September 27, Kunde declined
Riepe's offer to go "[h]aunted housing." On
September 28, Riepe texted that he was thinking of MB, that
she made him smile, and that "U look so good walkn arnd
the weight room."
September 29, Riepe texted "[MB] lol !;) ." He told
her that he had pulled a groin muscle while running. He asked
how MB got home from school. Kunde replied that sometimes her
mother picked her up and sometimes she rode with friends.
Riepe then asked, "Do u live far, " to which Kunde
did not respond.
October 3, Riepe texted, "Thinking of u:) hope you had a
great week TGIF !" Riepe disclosed that he had driven
past MB's high school the previous day, and said, "i
really like u as a fr[iend]. . . . Or a gf
[girlfriend]." Kunde replied, "U would want me as
yur gf??" Riepe responded, "Sure... But seriously
your great." He asked if they could meet soon and attend
a movie or go to a haunted house. Kunde responded that she
would try. Riepe offered to give MB a ride home from school,
but Kunde declined, noting that she did not want her mother
or anyone else to see them together. Riepe stated, "I
cant wait;) i was never cut lol, " which, he later
explained, meant that he had not been circumcised. According
to Riepe, this would result in "more pleasure for
both." He later told her, "U are the best [MB] ...
I love you." Kunde replied, "Love u 2." Riepe
stated, "Well we cn c eachother whnevr your ready."
October 10, Riepe texted, "[MB]:) ." After Kunde
replied that she had thought Riepe had forgotten about her,
Riepe responded "I thnk abt u all the time."
Riepe's October 16 text said that he was thinking of MB
and that he did so daily. When asked about the nature of his
thoughts, he replied, "sexually lol! Just u in general I
cant wait to c u again." Kunde asked, "U think
about sex w me?:) ." Riepe answered, "Its possible
lol !" Kunde then texted, "Ok:) I didn't think
u would wanna do that stuff w me lol." Riepe replied,
"I find u sexually attractive."
told Riepe that she had not had sex before, but that she
would do so if Riepe wanted to. Riepe replied,
"Alright." In response to her inquiry as to where
they could have sex, Riepe said that they could do so at his
house or a hotel room. When Kunde expressed concern that she
would not know what to do, Riepe told her, "Lol ! U wld
b fine...we dnt have to do it right away we cn go c a movie
first or whtever." Kunde requested that Riepe use a
condom because she did not want to risk becoming pregnant.
Riepe asked MB not to get him into trouble. She replied that
she would not. Riepe stated, "I feel rly horny rght
nw." After Kunde asked when he wanted to have sex, Riepe
replied, "Its up to u...ths wknd?" Kunde said that
she could not meet over the weekend, but that she was
available either that night or the following week. Riepe
replied that they should meet the following week and that
they should also visit haunted houses together. Riepe then
discussed masturbation and described the size of his penis.
He asked whether MB had seen pornography and whether she
enjoyed oral sex. He also stated, "technically your