A Salina man is sentenced to probation in connection with child exploitation crimes.
The case stems from the 2012 arrest of 33-year-old Joel Beets. He was arrested as part of an investigation by Salina police and the Kansas Internet Crimes Against Children task force.
Beets was in Saline County District Court Friday morning for sentencing.
Assistant Saline County Attoreny Christina Trocheck asked District Judge Jared Johnson to sentence Beets to the maximum penalty, 68 months in prison for each of three counts of sexual exploitation of a child.
Trocheck said this was one of the worst cases of this type she has dealt with in her career. “Mr. Beets developed a large collection of videos and images of childen, some as young as 2 and 3 years of age, involved in sex with adults”. she said it was the largest and most awful collection she has ever dealt with. She said that over 1,500 images, videos, and files were found on his computer, even after Beets admitted to deleting them at least a half dozen times over the years as he tried to fight his pornography urge. “This is the most awful degradation and punishment that can be done to a child”, Trocheck said. Along with adults performing sex acts on children, she said there were “beastiality and bondage acts” also being performed on them. She added that over 500 images were identified as real children.
Defense Attorney Bobby Hebert said that prison is not the place for Beets, saying “he is not a danger to the public and has demonstrated that he is capable of being reformed”. Hebert said that Beets has made great strides while out of jail on bond, including voluntarily undertaking a sex offender evaluation, completing schooling, and working at obtaining full time employment. Hebert said that while there were numerous images and videos, Beets did not produce any of them, but rather had obtained and viewed them.
Beets read a prepared statement. He said that he first found pornography online at age 14. It was easy to find, there was a lot of it, and he became addicted to it. He said that he found pictures of girls his own age, and as he grew older his preferences remained the same. He said that he tried to stop, deleting all of the files at least 6 times. But the desire wouldn’t go away. Beets said that when he was arrested on September 20th, 2012, it was the best thing that could hve happened to him. It was the only way that he could stop.
He said that he realizes what he did was wrong, saying that he is a loving, caring, person who wants to do the right thing. “Im not proud of what I did, it was a crime of lust, a crime of selfishness, it was wrong” he said.
After hearing the statement, Trocheck said that Beets offered no empathy for the victims. “He doesn’t realize the damage sexual exploitation does to a child” she said, and again asked for the maximum penalty.
Judge Johnson ultimately sentenced Beets to 32 months for each of the three counts, gave him credit for time served, and granted probation with several conditions, in lieu of prison time. Among other things Beets must take part in a sexual offender treatment program, go through a drug and alcohol addiction evaluation, and stay away from drugs, alcohol, and any establishment where the main source of income is alcohol sales. He will be a registered offender for 25 years, and will be on lifetime supervision.