A former Ellinwood teacher convicted of attempted electronic solicitation is scheduled to be sentenced this week in Barton County District Court, and another man convicted of sexting teenagers began his prison sentence last week.
Seth Lee Converse Stevens is scheduled to appear in Barton County District Court for sentencing at 1 p.m. Tuesday. Stevens is a former Ellinwood teacher who entered a plea of no contest to one count of attempted electronic solicitation of a child under 16 years old. He moved first to Topeka and then to Missouri after posting bond.
District Mike Keeley presided over the hearing where Stevens was found guilty, but District Judge Hannelore Kitts was to preside over the sentencing. However, on Tuesday Kitts recused herself from further proceedings. District Judge Ron Svaty will hear the sentencing.
Stevens entered his plea on Aug. 25 after plea negotiations with the Barton County Attorney’s Office. His charge was amended from electronic solicitation to the less series attempted solicitation charge, and a second charge of electronic solicitation of a child under 16 was dismissed. The nature of his conviction means that once he is released Stevens must register as a sex offender, for 25 years from the time of his conviction.
During the hearing where Stevens waived his right to a trial, the Barton County Attorney’s Office introduced evidence that the defendant has used a cell phone to text inappropriate messages to a 15-year-old girl. The practice of "sexting" — sending sexually suggestive photos or messages over a cell phone — was also alleged in the case of Joshua Braeton Monk, 21, who began his prison sentence last week at El Dorado Correctional Facility’s Reception and Diagnostic Unit.
Monk was also charged with soliciting young girls via text messages. He was originally charged with seven felonies last year, after a woman discovered inappropriate text messages on her 12-year-old daughter’s cell phone. He was arrested in September 2010 at Northwest Kansas Technical College in Goodland, where he was attending classes. He was originally charged with four counts of electronic solicitation of a minor, in which one victim was 12 and the other was 14; two counts of indecent liberties with a child and one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. The Great Bend Tribune reported that on May 9, Monk entered a plea of no contest to three counts of electronic solicitation. Two counts were considered greater offenses because the victim was under 14 years old. In exchange for Monk’s plea, Barton County Attorney Douglas Matthews agreed to drop the other four charges and said he would not file new charges that had come to light during the investigation.
Monk was moved from the Barton County Jail to the Kansas Department of Corrections on Tuesday. According to the KOC website, his level of custody is still being processed, and his earliest possible release date at this time is June 23, 2021. The website lists his convictions as two counts of electronic solicitation and one count of indecent liberties for lewd fondling of a children between the age of 14 and 16 years.
He is reportedly appealing the case.