advertisement

Kinder's chief of staff quits over porn charges

Friday, June 6, 2008 | 5:20 p.m. CDT; updated 3:57 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Eric Feltner, chief of staff for Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, resigned Friday after reports emerged that he had been charged with two misdemeanor counts of providing pornography to a child.

Feltner, 40, who is a Columbia resident, is accused of encouraging an undercover Jefferson City police officer posing as a 13-year-old girl to masturbate on two separate occasions in May and July of 2007, using the screen name “thebestinmo,” according to a probable cause statement filed by officer Chad Stieferman.

According to the charges, Feltner presented material through Yahoo Instant Messenger “consisting of explicit written directions and descriptions of oral and manual stimulation.”

Feltner is scheduled to appear in Cole County Circuit Court on June 27 for his arraignment.

Kinder, a Republican, learned of the charges shortly after 11 a.m. Friday, after which he asked Feltner to resign.

“At no time was our office notified of this alleged misconduct by a member of my staff,” Kinder said in a news release. “While these allegations have yet to be proven, I feel that even the appearance of impropriety on such a disturbing scale cannot be tolerated. I have made it clear to my staff that I will not accept even the appearance of this type of troubling behavior by anyone in my office.”

Kinder also said that within an hour of learning of the charges he initiated a review of Feltner’s state e-mail accounts, state computer and other electronic mediums available at the lieutenant governor’s office.

At about 5 o’clock, Kinder’s office sent out a follow-up statement in which Communications Director Gary McElyea said the review showed Feltner “was on compensatory leave for both days in question.” Copies of Feltner’s time cards were attached.

“From our internal administrative review,” McElyea said, “these documents conclude that Mr. Feltner was not using state resources or facilities during the alleged misconduct.”

Nearly an hour later, Kinder issued another statement: "As a result of a thorough review of his state computer and e-mail, the Office of Administration has informed me that there is no indication that state resources were improperly used by Mr. Feltner pertaining to these serious allegations."

He said: "While it does not appear Mr. Feltner used state resources for personal use, it does not and should not excuse those who would prey on our young people via the Internet, whether they are using state resources or not. I find this behavior both reprehensible and indefensible."

Feltner’s resignation letter to Kinder said that he does not want “to allow the unresolved nature of this situation to be a distraction to the job” of the lieutenant governor. The letter never specifically describes the allegations.

“In light of recent accounts being written about me and as someone who understands the perceptions that come as a result, I hereby resign, effective immediately, as your chief of staff,” Feltner wrote.

Feltner was named deputy lieutenant governor and senior advocate in January 2005. Before that, he served as district director for 9th District Congressman Kenny Hulshof, a Republican who is now running for governor.

“Abuse of the Internet is a real and growing problem in our society,” Hulshof said in a prepared statement. “These are very serious charges, and I’m confident that our justice system will act swiftly and effectively to address this matter. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to his wife and family.”

Feltner’s charges were first reported Friday by the Democratic-leaning Web site firedupmissouri.com.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Like what you see here? Become a member.


Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Comments

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.

advertisements