KANSAS CITY, KAN. – A Kansas City, Kan., man has been sentenced to 235 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to interstate travel for the purpose of engaging in sex with a child, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.
Robert Poe, III, 39, Kansas City, Kan., pleaded guilty to three counts of traveling from Kansas to Missouri for the purpose of engaging in sex acts with a child.
“Protecting children against sexual predators and achieving justice for victims of those crimes are our highest priorities,” said U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom. “In this era of instant communication and interaction in cyberspace the threats to our children continue to grow and evolve.”
During hearings, prosecutors told a federal judge the crimes occurred in 1999 and 2000. They said the investigation began in November 2000 when the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department received a complaint from the mother of a 7-year-old boy. The mother said Poe had engaged in sexual acts with her son. At the time, Poe was a friend of the mother’s boyfriend, Michael Arnett, and Poe sometimes served as a babysitter for the boy. Arnett was charged in a separate federal criminal case, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.
Prosecutors told the judge that one incident (count one) occurred in April 2000 when Poe was babysitting the boy at Poe’s home. Poe showed the boy photos of nude children and then made the boy perform oral sex on him.
Another incident (count two) occurred in July 2000 when Poe was babysitting. The boy said Poe held a gun to his head and forced him to perform oral sex.
Another incident (count three) occurred in 1999 or 2000. A victim told federal agents that he and his now deceased brother were molested by Poe and Arnett while the victim was between 10 and 12 years old. The victim said he first met Arnett in 1997 when his brother was a patient at the Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. The victim’s brother had cystic fibrosis and died in May 2003. The victim said Arnett befriended him and his brother. The victim said the molestation started when Arnett’s friend Poe started showing up with Arnett in 1998. The victim said Poe held a gun to his head and forced him to perform oral sex on him. The victim said Poe first molested him at the house of Poe’s father in Shawnee Mission, Kan. The victim said Arnett and Poe took him and his brother out of town on weekend trips and molested both boys. The trips were to St. Louis, Mo., Bennet Springs, Mo., and Oklahoma City, Okla.
Grissom commended the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Martin for their work on the case.