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Salem man guilty of importuning

December 1, 2012
Morning Journal News

LISBON - A Salem man accused of soliciting a sexual act and making comments about the bodies of several children near Reilly Stadium in 2010 was found guilty Friday by Judge Scott Washam in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court.

Joseph Kalbfell, 54, Olive Street, was convicted of sexual importuning. A two-day trial to the bench had been conducted in late October. Washam granted both Assistant Prosecutor Timothy McNicol and defense attorney Jennifer Gorby a chance to file closing briefs following the testimony, which included five now teenage children.

One of the boys, age 12 at the time of the comments, had testified Kalbfell had driven up in a van and commented about the boy's body. The boy reportedly replied by calling Kalbfell a derogatory name. Kalbfell then reportedly asked the boy if he could perform a sexual act with him, to which the boy again replied using the same derogatory name.

The other children who testified had claimed a man in a similar van made similar comments about their bodies during a two-day period in September 2010.

Washam filed on Friday a judgment entry which listed the facts of the case he considered in making his decision. Washam wrote the charge of importuning involving a 12-year-old does not require any proof of intentions to follow through with the sexual activity.

"The crime of importuning is complete when the solicitation occurs," Washam wrote.

Sentencing has been set for Jan. 11. The charge carries a possible one- to five-year prison sentence.

McNicol requested Kalbfell's bond be revoked following the verdict. Although it was not brought out during the trial, McNicol said Kalbfell has serious arson convictions in two states.

However, Washam denied McNicol's request, instead increasing the bond from $5,000 to $100,000. Kalbfell was able to sign a personal recognizance and remain out on bond under the condition he have no contact with the witnesses against him.



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