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DeKalb man receives probation for attempted child porn

Published: Friday, July 11, 2014 4:30 p.m. CST • Updated: Saturday, July 12, 2014 12:20 a.m. CST
Caption
Robert D. Gahlbeck, 58, of the 1100 block of Golf Court in DeKalb, pleaded guilty to attempted child pornography.

SYCAMORE – A DeKalb man accused of binding and photographing two young, clothed girls in his home was sentenced to four years’ probation and released from jail Friday.

Robert Gahlbeck, 58, of the 1100 block of Golf Court, must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, undergo group and individual treatment and take periodical polygraph tests. He pleaded guilty Friday to attempted child pornography as part of a negotiated agreement after a sex offender evaluation found he could likely be rehabilitated through treatment.

Experts put Gahlbeck through a series of written and oral tests to determine their recommended sentence, said Assistant State’s Attorney Phil Montgomery.

“The statute says we’re supposed to sentence someone to probation if it’s available,” Montgomery said. “It appears as though he can be rehabilitated through the counsel.”

Gahlbeck, who had no prior criminal history, was charged in March 2013 with kidnapping, unlawful restraint and child pornography. Those charges were all dropped as part of the agreement.

He was accused of tying up a relative and her friend, both younger than 13 years old at the time, and placing duct tape over their mouths, court records show. Gahlbeck hung the girls by their bound wrists from hooks on his bedroom ceiling, according to court records.

Police do not believe the photographs were posted online, authorities have said.

As part of his sentence, Gahlbeck’s Internet use will be monitored, including his use of social media. He is not allowed to have unsupervised contact with children under 18 or the two victims.

He also will have to take polygraph tests periodically to show he is complying with all of the conditions of his sentence just in case officials miss something Gahlbeck is doing, Montgomery said.

The families of the victims were in court and agreed to the sentence before it was read. Montgomery said a prison sentence was not pursued to save the victims the stress of testifying in court.

“It saves them the trauma of having to testify against someone who they’ve known their whole lives,” Montgomery said. “They’re glad it’s over with and that he admitted what he did is wrong and illegal.”

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