Friday, August 08, 2008
No jail time, no supervision, no problems with internet use, no justice
He was a 40-year-old man sitting at a computer conducting a sexually graphic conversation with someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl.
Was it the first time? Perhaps, but then again, we are talking about someone who was referring to himself as "bestinmo."
If Eric Feltner, who was chief of staff to Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder at the time, had been communicating with Jim Murray at the Diamond Police Department, the acknowledged southwest Missouri expert at this type of internet sting, it is safe to say Feltner would not have been charged with a mere misdemeanor.
And Jim Murray is not the only police officer in Missouri who has successfully operated this type of sting. So why the misdemeanor and why did it take one year to file the charge?
Are we talking about a problem with law enforcement or with the prosecuting attorney?
Nonetheless, Feltner was charged with two counts of furnishing pornographic material to a minor. He pleaded guilty Thursday in Cole County Circuit Court and though there was never any doubt that he wasn't going to be spending much, if any, time behind bars, the public has a right to be outraged by the way the sentence was handled.
This is the punishment, Judge Richard Callahan thought Eric Feltner deserved for conducting sexually graphic conversations with someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl:
-No jail time, not one day, no shock time, nothing. Feltner was placed on probation for two years.
-Not just any probation, but unsupervised probation. In a day and age when internet perverts are a danger to our society, we are to believe that someone who pleads guilty to a crime like this does not need to have someone looking our his shoulder.
-Feltner can still use the internet! Oh, Judge Callahan did give lip service to being tough, by prohibiting Feltner from using the internet, but he gave the now-convicted sex offender a loophole- Feltner can use the internet "in the ordinary course of employment for a business purpose."
Obviously, we are not talking about getting tough with internet perverts here.
This will really serve as a deterrent to all of the prospective Eric Feltners in our society.