Three members of the FarmHouse Fraternity in Ames are facing criminal charges after allegedly using an air soft gun to extort another member into performing a sex act.
Per court documents, the three accused are as follows:
- 20-year-old Colton Ryan Moore of Randolph
- 21-year-old Grant Louis Kuehnast of Humboldt
- 20-year-old Tyler Ray Ekstrom of Sycamore, Illinois
The three suspects and one victim were all members of the fraternity, located at 311 Ash Avenue near Campustown, at the time of the alleged crime.
Ames Police Sergeant Amber Christian told StoryCounty.News that the male victim involved in the incident made a report with the Ames Police Department on February 14.
According to a criminal complaint, the three suspects entered the victim’s room in the evening hours of January 31 and demanded he perform a sex act on one of the suspects, identified in a separate complaint as Moore.
During the exchange, Kuehnast is said to have brandished an air soft gun, pointing it at the victim. “He told the victim to commit a sex act on another defendant or he would be shot”, says the complaint. When the victim refused to comply, Kuehnast allegedly started counting down to zero, at which point he “fired the gun multiple times at the victim”.
Per the complaint, Moore is accused of aiding in the crime by “laying on his back with his legs in the air in order to receive the sex act”.
Ekstrom, who was said to be the Vice President and Risk Manager of the fraternity at the time of the incident, was reportedly asked for help by the victim during the series of events. A complaint indicates that Ekstrom responded to the defended by saying, “I’m just here to make sure you don’t get shot.”
“The three of them together worked in concert ordering the victim to perform a sex act on one of them or else he would be shot in the face and groin with an air soft gun.”Criminal complaint filed by Ames PD
According to Christian, the victim refused to comply with any of the suspects’ attempts.
Though no sex act occurred, Christian applauded the victim for following up with authorities to report the incident. “Oftentimes with sex crimes, the victims don’t feel comfortable coming forward,” she relayed. “Obviously, since the air soft gun came out and started being more of a threat to injury, that scares people.
“We’re glad [the victim] came forward, because who knows how long they would do this and to how many people if we didn’t put a stop to it.”
In the following weeks and months after the initial report was made, Ames PD conducted a series of interviews. Court documents also indicate that a warrant was issued to obtain evidence from Snapchat, a popular messaging app. “The investigating officer wrote search warrants to obtain some social media data, and it took forever for that information to come back to us,” Christian explained.
Moore, Kuehnast, and Ekstrom were each taken into custody last week and charged with the following crimes:
- Extortion, a class “D” felony
- Second-Degree Harassment, a serious misdemeanor
- Assault, a simple misdemeanor
Online records indicate that all three suspects have posted bond and await appearances in court.
Moore and Kuehnast are listed as seniors on Iowa State University’s online student directory, with Ekstrom listed as a junior.
Christian acknowledged that there have been very few calls to Ames PD regarding problems at the FarmHouse Fraternity in recent time.
However, Iowa State University Police Chief Michael Newton confirmed to StoryCounty.News that a “forcible fondling” allegedly occurred at the fraternity in April, which prompted ISU to send out a crime warning notification on April 17. “It was reported to a campus security authority,” he said. “With that, we then followed our process. We had enough information to determine that a timely warning needed to go out to protect the community.” The individual who was reportedly assaulted in April has not yet made a formal complaint with police, according to Newton.
A statement posted on the Iowa State FarmHouse Fraternity’s Facebook page, dated April 18, reads as follows:
“The Iowa State FarmHouse chapter is aware of an incident on April 16 and has zero tolerance for sexual misconduct. The accused individual’s membership in the Iowa State chapter was terminated at 12:46 a.m. on April 17th. We are in full support of the victim.”
“The chapter leadership has been in contact with both FarmHouse headquarters staff and the Sorority/Fraternity Engagement Office at Iowa State and will continue to comply with any ongoing investigations.”
If you have been a victim of sexual assault, you are encouraged to contact police or visit www.assaultcarecenter.org for assistance through Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support (ACCESS).