Sentencing Trial of Convicted Sex Offender

June 29, 2007

Reported by: Britney Glaser

A man once trusted by the public for protection will now be spending the next 30 years of his life behind bars. 43-year-old Karl Kretser is a former Baton Rouge police officer and head of security at Cortana Mall in Baton Rouge - but now he is on his way to becoming the newest inmate in a federal penitentiary.

The 43-year-old was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi to serve the maximum 30 year sentence for attempting to coerce a minor to engage in a sexual act.  Kretser was caught red-handed thanks to an undercover Internet sting operation.

Lieutenant Rusty Broussard with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office says, "One of my employees was working undercover, posing as a 14-year-old female and received information from Mr. Kretser. He had sexually explicit conversations."

Calcasieu District Attorney John DeRosier says, "This profile is our target and I think the sentence is appropriate under the circumstances."

From the beginning, Kretser believed a 14-year-old girl was on the receiving end of his messages, pornographic pictures and his invitation to meet up to engage in sexual acts.  Judge Minaldi showed no mercy for Kretser with his sentencing and in a statement, she told 7news: "It's important for people to know these people will be dealt with seriously."

DeRosier says the message from his office and other law enforcement agencies in Southwest Louisiana is clear, "Predators, leave our children alone," says DeRosier, "and it takes this kind of sentence and this kind of case to send that message home."

The officers that deal with sexual predators daily say years behind bars is the best route to keeping kids safe when surfing the web.  "If it wasn't us out there that they were talking to," says Broussard, "then it would be a child and it would be a victim - this is real. Thank goodness that they're talking to us and they're not talking to a kid."

In the past year, the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office has arrested 21 men for online solicitation of a minor. Officers are actively working more than a dozen other cases involving online sexual predators at this time.