Archive for Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Carbondale man sentenced to five years in Internet sex solicitation case

Robert Starkedale was arrested in 2006 in Baldwin City after trying to arrange a sexual encounter with two underage girls, who turned out to be law enforcement officers.

January 6, 2009


A Carbondale man who attempted to sexually solicit who he thought was a 13-year-old-girl over the Internet received concurrent sentences Tuesday totaling five years in prison on three convictions.

Robert Starkebaum, 39, tearfully apologized for his crimes before Douglas County District Judge Robert Fairchild sentenced him to 34 months for electronic solicitation of a child and 61 months each for attempted aggravated rape and attempted aggravated sodomy. The sentences will be served at the same time.

Starkebaum was arrested in November 2007 after getting caught in an Internet sting operation by the Baldwin City Police Department. Last year he pleaded guilty to the charges.

“I can promise, in my lifetime, you’ll never see me in this courtroom ever again,” Starkebaum told Fairchild.

Fairchild granted a motion for downward departure in state sentencing guidelines on the solicitation conviction based on arguments by Starkebaum’s attorney, Sally Pokorny. She said electronic solicitation in the Starkebaum case carried a sentence 10 times what a conviction would have for soliciting an actual child in a park. She described that as “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Before the sentencing, Pokorny called several witnesses to testify on behalf of Starkebaum. Psychologist Robert W. Barnett conducted a mental examination on Starkebaum and described him as bipolar. Without medication, Starkebaum was prone to the extremes of depressive and manic emotions and was in the manic phase at the time of his arrest. Starkebaum said he had stopped taking medication because he thought he could “handle life.”

Starkebaum was also a patient of Samuel Bradshaw, a Veterans Affairs psychiatrist who was treating him for post-traumatic stress disorder. Starkebaum served in the Marine Corps during the Gulf War.

Bradshaw and Barnett both said they did not consider Starkebaum a danger to others as long as he is on medication. They also said they saw no evidence that Starkebaum had a history that would make him a sexual predator.


Steve Jacob 9 years, 2 months ago

I will be the the minority here, but 5 years for "attempted aggravated rape and attempted aggravated sodomy" where no actual child was ever involved or risked being harmed (but he did not know that, I know, I know). Not saying he shouldn't be locked up, but just voicing an opinion. And this is the 21st century, who isn't "bipolar".

KansasVoter 9 years, 2 months ago

I absolutely hate these "Dateline NBC" type stings. People act like a grown man has some magic power to get into a teen's pants, but if a 13 year-old is willing to have sex with a 40 year-old perv I don't see what the big deal is. If she's willing to do that she's probably willing to do it with someone her age, so what's the difference? She'd probably be better off with the 40 year-old because if she had sex with someone her age she would probably get labeled as a slut and she'd carry that reputation until graduation.

GardenMomma 9 years, 2 months ago

This still doesn't make up for the 14 days in jail sentence Judge Fairchild gave to the man with his second DUI conviction who killed someone else.

boogaloogadoodoo 9 years, 2 months ago

Just because there wasn't a real 13 year old at the keyboard doesn't mean that the intention wasn't there. KansasVoter ... are you for real? You think we should embrace prepubescent childrens curiosities about sex by shrugging our shoulders? You cannot justify that kind of behavior by saying "Eh, they're gonna do it anyhow, good thing there's a 40 year-old at the wheel." Your outlook on this matter is terrifying."Sexual involvement with a child is by definition coercive on the part of the adult, since the child does not occupy equal power status to the adult. By virtue of being an adult the grownup possesses social authority, physical superiority, wider experience, and greater knowledge than the child. In sexual encounters with adults children may cooperate but they are not capable of giving informed consent. For this reason pedophilia constitutes the sexual abuse of power."

Deja Coffin 9 years, 2 months ago

KansasVoter, or should I just call you Chester. Since you're trying to justify a grown person having sex with a child I can only question why. I know when I was 16 I dated guys that were out of high school and I never thought anything wrong with it. At the time I thought I was 'cool' for being so mature and able to handle a relationship with a 19-20 year old. Now at the ripe old age of 25 I look back at that time and think, "why would someone out of high school want anything to do with someone who is." It's just gross and the fact that a 40 year old would want to be with a 13 year old makes him nothing less then a child molester. Personally, I think 5 years is a light sentence.

littleone 9 years, 2 months ago

What I don't understand, is that surely these guys have watched Dateline and have got to know that there is a chance that they are being set up....Kansas are just as sick as he is...I hope my little girl doesn't meet up with a member of your family...that's just sick....

Deja Coffin 9 years, 2 months ago

Anybody know if that Dateline show will ever be on t.v. again? I used to love that show!

Strontius 9 years, 2 months ago

“why would someone out of high school want anything to do with someone who is.”Because men are conditioned by both nature and society to like younger women. There's an evolutionary reason that has spilled over into our larger society. Remember that it's only in the last century or so where society has started to frown upon very young women dating older men. In fact, that's still not entirely true. If a 21 year old woman marries a 55 year old man, it's perfectly legal and no one says anything. Billy Joel married a 23 year old woman when he was 55. Personally, that rubs me the wrong way a little bit, but they are both legal adults. And that's the issue here. It's illegal for a 13 year old to sleep with a 40 year old, regardless of the sex of either participant. Personally, I think there's a mental issue here that's not being addressed properly. Prison will not fix the problem.

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