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WATERLOO — A Black Hawk County jury Tuesday afternoon found three men guilty of sexual abuse charges in connection with an alleged June 2012 gang rape in the basement of a Waterloo home.

But the trio avoided the more serious kidnapping charges that had been levied by prosecutors and would have carried a life sentence.

Authorities alleged Deantay Darelle Williams, 23, Taevon Washington, 24, and Cordarrel Smith, 31, forced two 15-year-old girls into the basement of Smith’s Adams Street home after a night of drinking and raped them.

Attorneys for Williams and Washington argued the sex was consensual, and Smith’s attorney denied Smith had any sexual contact with the girls.

Closing arguments were Sept. 24, and the jury deliberated for more than three days before reaching a verdict Tuesday morning.

Smith, who was the oldest at the time of the incident at age 24, was found guilty of second-degree sexual abuse — because of the age difference compared with the victims — third-degree sexual abuse and conspiracy to commit sexual abuse.

Washington, who was 18 at the time of the incident, and Williams, who was 17, were found guilty of third-degree sexual abuse and assault.

Sentencing will be at a later date, and all three remain in custody until then.

The case took years to go to trial, in part, because of a detour through higher courts that ended with a landmark Iowa Supreme Court decision.

Williams, Washington, Smith and a fourth person, Eric Webster, were briefly detained and questioned by police shortly after one of the girls left the basement and called for help.

Charges weren’t filed until October 2013, and defense attorneys for Williams, Washington and Smith asked the court to throw out the case, claiming the charges violated the state’s speedy indictment rules. They argued their clients were technically arrested when they were taken into custody for questioning at the time of the incident, and formal charges didn’t come within the 45-day deadline.

The Iowa Court of Appeals agreed with the defense in a 2015 opinion, but that decision was overturned by the Iowa Supreme ruling in 2017 that reinstated the case.

Webster, now 26, pleaded guilty to third-degree sexual abuse in 2014, and he was released from prison in May 2018.

Williams also is awaiting trial for sexual abuse and marijuana charges in an unrelated incident that happened while he was out on bond in the basement case. In that case he was accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl in a car at Highland Park in April 2018 while he was 22, according to court records.

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