Archive for Thursday, November 29, 2007

Carbondale man will stand trial

November 29, 2007

A Carbondale man, calling himself KsTaz2000 on an Internet chat site earlier this month, offered to pay a 13-year-old girl and her friend for sex.

The girl, who said her name was "Amanda," actually was an undercover Baldwin City police officer, according to testimony last Tuesday in Douglas County District Court.

"You looking for sexual fun? Are you sexually active?"

"LOL. No," was "Amanda's" response, using the Internet language acronym for "laughing out loud." She placed a "smiley face" next to her message.

Those were some of the messages the officer said were exchanged with KsTaz2000 on Nov. 1. The officer described the Internet chat encounters before Judge Robert Fairchild during the 38-year-old Carbondale man's preliminary hearing. He is charged with attempted rape and attempted aggravated sodomy of a girl under 14, as well as electronic solicitation. Fairchild must decide if there is probable cause to try the man on the charges.

The man the officer communicated with eventually said he lived "20 miles west" of Baldwin City and gave his first name. He allegedly offered to pay "Amanda" and a 12-year-old girlfriend $100 each for sex.

Computer screen photos of the conversations and messages were turned in to the judge.

The officer communicated with KsTaz2000 early the following day, Nov. 2, and arrangements were made for the man to meet Amanda and her friend that morning at Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center along U.S. Highway 56. There was no school that day.

Officers were waiting out of sight off school grounds when the suspect showed up in a yellow Hummer. The Hummer was stopped and the man was arrested. He was found with two $100 bills in his possession, an officer said.

The Signal generally does not publish the names of sex crime suspects until they have been convicted.

According to the officer, the suspect said he had arrived to meet someone he'd met on the Internet to have sex. He said he thought the girl was of high school or junior high school age.

During questioning by Sally Pokorny, the suspect's attorney, the officer said the man told officers that he was a disabled Marine veteran of the first Persian Gulf war and that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and was bipolar.

Pokorny questioned whether all of the legal conditions for attempting to have sex with two girls were evident in the incident. She argued that there was no overt or direct attempt to complete the act and that officers stopped him as he was driving through the school parking lot. She cited Kansas Supreme Court cases to back up her argument.

"We don't have a real person (for him) to meet," she said.

Assistant District Attorney Angela Wilson argued that the man drove from Carbondale to meet the girls and that the victims not being real is not a defense.

Fairchild ruled that the man will stand trial on the charges of attempted rape, attempted aggravated sodomy and electronic solicitation of a child. He set his trial for Feb. 19.

The suspect is being held in the Douglas County Jail on $80,000 bond. His attorney, Sally Pokorny, asked the judge to reduce that bond. The judge declined the request.

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