Nurse accused of running prostitution scheme over the past 15 years surrenders his license

Police allege sex ‘research’ dates back to 2008 and includes minors

By: - July 11, 2023 1:52 pm

Over the past 15 years, registered nurse practitioner Carl Markley of Ames (inset) allegedly recruited individuals to participate in sex acts in return for money. Markley ran the Wellness Clinic in Ankeny. (Photo via Canva, with inset photo from Iowa District Court records and logo from the Iowa Board of Nursing)

A central Iowa registered nurse practitioner has surrendered his license after being criminally charged with sexual exploitation of a minor, prostitution, pimping and human trafficking.

Police and prosecutors allege that for the past 15 years Carl Markley of Ames, who ran the Wellness Clinic in Ankeny and several other businesses, recruited individuals to participate in sex acts, disguised as “research,” in exchange for money.

Separately, the Iowa Board of Nursing alleges that over a period of two years Markley wrote “numerous prescriptions” for controlled substances and ordered more than 14,000 tablets or capsules of medication from a nonprofit pharmacy that provides indigent people with “unused medications” in single-dose packages. During that same two-year period, the board alleges, Markley asked juvenile employees of his construction company to submit to unnecessary physical evaluations.

Court records indicate Ames police launched an investigation late last year after an informant alleged Markley was sending out text messages to employees at his businesses, seeking volunteers to assist him with “unofficial” research studies and consumer-product testing in return for pay. The informant alleged he made two appointments with Markley at the Ankeny clinic and that Markley had masturbated him and paid him $100 for each session.

On March 9, police spoke to Markley and, according to a search warrant affidavit, he acknowledged he conducted non-medical and unofficial research studies but denied any physical contact with the participants and denied recording the sessions.

In March, police executed search warrants at Markley’s home and business, and allegedly seized several electronic devices, including a clock and pen with hidden cameras in them. On one device, they allegedly found a commercially produced pornographic video depicting actors portraying doctors and patients performing sex acts in a clinical setting. They also claim to have found text messages on Markley’s phone in which he arranged to meet with people for sex-related research inside a storage closet of an apartment building that he owned.

Detectives also reported locating multiple photographic images of individuals that were allegedly taken by covert means inside Markley’s clinic. One of the images is alleged to be of a male, with his genitals exposed, who later confirmed for police that the image was of him at the age of 15 or 16. As a result of those findings, Markley was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor.

Several days after that charge was imposed, Story County prosecutors charged Markley with human trafficking and four counts each of pimping and prostitution. He has pleaded not guilty to all of the criminal charges.

Prosecutors allege they talked to more than 10 individuals who were victimized as part of a scheme in which Markley recruited them to participate in sex acts in return for money and other things of value. Court records indicate the investigators located documents dating back 15 years, to 2008, when Markley allegedly began engaging in commercial sexual activity.

One individual told police that in August 2021 Markley offered to pay him for sex at the AmericInn hotel in Ames. Two other individuals alleged Markley recruited them to participate in a “study” conducted at his apartment building. One of the individuals told police he was paid $600 to $700 for four or five sessions in which the two engaged in sex, while the other said he was paid $25 to $60 per session.

According to court records, after police searched Markley’s properties, he created a website called, which describes issues related to male sexual health and states: “It’s becoming a bigger and bigger topic among young males but the little research on this to date is on old men with nerve problems whom we agree also need help. This is why we are here, fighting the good fight!”

In May, after criminal charges were filed in the case, Markley signed an agreement with the Iowa Board of Nursing, agreeing to refrain from practicing until authorized to do so. Days later, the board charged him with engaging in sex with patients, causing injury to patients, failing to safeguard medications, engaging in inappropriate behavior, failing to assess or evaluate patients, and failing to comply with a board subpoena. At that point, Markley agreed to surrender his nursing license.

No trial dates have been scheduled in the criminal proceedings.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing.