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Roeben family abuse case - 1906


Posted By: Reid R. Johnson (email)
Date: 3/18/2017 at 12:53:05

Charged With Revolting Crime.

As a result of an investigation by the grand jury, Fred Roeben, a resident of Volga township, near Motor, has been held to answer to an indictment charging him with rape on his 14 year old daughter, and he is now in jail awaiting trial at the April term.

Some time ago Sheriff Dittmer visited the home of Roebken for the purpose of serving some papers in a civil suit and found a bad condition of affairs. The father and 7 children were all living in one room, in a filthy condition, Mrs. Roeben having died in May, 1905, and the oldest daughter of 14 years acting as housekeeper. It is charged that the assaults on the daughter began within two weeks of the mother's death.

One of the children was paralyzed and the case was reported to the Board of Supervisors, who told the Sheriff to bring the child to town for medical treatment and they would endeavor to provide for the family.

From rumors in the neighborhood the first clue of anything further wrong was learned and the oldest girl was brought before the grand jury and on her evidence the father was indicted and brought to jail. Rev. Leonhard, of the German church, has taken the paralytic child and one other, three have been sent to the County Home, and one is at the home of C. J. Adam, where they will be taken care of until final arrangements have been made for their care.

Elkader Argus, Wed., 17 Jan. 1906.

The youngest one of the Roeben children is to be adopted by a family living in Nebraska.

Ekader Argus, Wed., 7 Feb. 1906.

Rev. Bunge took little Bernice Roeben to the Orphans' Home, at Waverly, Ia., on Monday. He will remain until Friday visiting his sister and friends in that city.

Elkader Register, Thur., 15 Feb. 1906. Garnavillo News column.


District Court.
Tuesday Fred Roeben plead guilty to the charge of an assault with an intent to commit rape upon his daughter, and was sentenced to ten years at Anamosa.

Elkader Register, Thur., 12 Apr. 1906.


Sheriff Dittmer took Fred Roeben to the penitentiary at Anamosa Thursday to begin his sentence of 10 years. John H. H. Stiehl accompanied them to assist the sheriff and to take a look at the place the state has provided for the detention of its criminals.

Elkader Argus, Wed., 18 Apr. 1906.


Note: The 1900 Fed. Census of Elkport town, Clayton, Iowa, USA, shows:

Fred Roeben, Married circa 1890, Age 32, Born Apr. 1868, Germany.
Maria Roeben, Wife, Age 36, Born Germany.
Fred Roeben, Son, Age 9, Born Iowa.
Martha Roeben, Daughter, Age 7, Born Iowa.
John Roeben, Son, Age 7, Born Iowa.
Frieda Roeben, Daughter, Age 6, Born Iowa.
Hermina Roeben, Daughter, Age 4, Born Iowa.
Martin Roeben, Son, Age 3, Born Iowa.
Otilia Roeben, Daughter, Age 1, Born Iowa.
Lilie Roeben, Daughter, Age 1, Born Iowa.


See obituaries of Roeben, Johann Frederick 1868 - 1937 - Roeben, Johanna Louise Augusta (Kohler) 1864 - 1905 - and Roeben, Martin G. 1896 - 1947, for further relationships.

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