Rock Valley Man Sentenced to Prison

A Rock Valley man was sentenced in Sioux County District Court Monday, to 25 years in prison. In a press release, Sioux County Attorney Thomas Kunstle announced that 45-year-old Joe Lee Kats, of Rock Valley was sentenced to the prison term after a plea agreement was made in March.

The case stems from an incident on January 1, 2022, when Kats was operating a bus to drive bar patrons to their respective homes. Kats dropped off the victim at her home, then entered the residence without permission. The victim was unable to consent to his advance and Kats sexually assaulted the victim while the victim was incapacitated, and then left. When the victim woke, they realized they had been sexually assaulted and reported it to authorities. An investigation resulted in the Rock Valley Police Department charging Kats with Sexual Abuse and Burglary on May 20, 2022. The State raised Kats’ Sexual Abuse charge to a Class “A” felony, because Kats had previously been convicted of Sexual Abuse in 2005 and Lascivious Acts with a Child in 1997.

Kats pled guilty on March 22 of this year to Burglary in the First Degree with the Intent to Commit Sexual Abuse, a class “B” felony, and an amended count of Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree, as a Habitual Offender, and was taken into custody pending the sentencing hearing. On Monday, the District Court sentenced Kats to prison for a term not to exceed 25 years, with a mandatory minimum of three years. Additional penalties include lifetime placement on the sexual offender registry, lifetime supervision as if on parole, and evaluation as a sexually violent predator.