JEFFERSON CITY — The former chief of staff for Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder admitted to using an online dating service despite a ban on personal Internet use following his pornography conviction.
Eric Feltner pleaded guilty in August to displaying sexually explicit materials. He was sentenced to six months in jail but that sentence was suspended, with the conditions that he stay off the Internet except for business purposes and complete two years of unsupervised probation and 100 hours of community service.
Last week, Cole County Judge Richard Callahan added a 10-day “shock time” jail sentence because Feltner violated the Internet prohibition.
According to a transcript of the hearing that was obtained by The Associated Press on Monday, prosecutors said that Feltner logged into his Yahoo account 445 times since August.
Feltner admitted in August that he had used the screen name “thebestinmo” for a sexually explicit Internet chat on May 25, 2007, with someone he believed was a minor.
Feltner’s attorney, Shane Farrow, argued last week that some of the hundreds of log-ins since that conviction were for business but acknowledged that Feltner had created a Match.com account.
Farrow said that Feltner was depressed because his wife left and wanted to start dating again, so friends advised him to try using the Web site. Farrow said Feltner set his search parameters on Match.com for women between the ages of 27 and 40.
“His understanding was that the court’s primary concern was staying out of chat room, staying away from minors on the Internet, which there’s no allegation of any kind that he’s been in chat rooms,” Farrow said.
Callahan said it seemed clear the Internet restrictions covered all online activity except that for business. Noting that there were no reporters in the courtroom, Callahan said that it was not his intent to embarrass Feltner but that he needs to take action when probation conditions are violated.
Callahan called for the probation revocation hearing because of a letter sent to him by Joy Latimer on Oct. 24. That letter was under seal, and it’s not entirely clear what it says, but Farrow said during the hearing that there was nothing “untoward” in Feltner’s conversation with Latimer.
No telephone listing could be found for Joy Latimer.
Farrow did not immediately return a call seeking comment Monday.
Feltner apologized during the hearing and said he planned to move to Arkansas.
“I’m trying to move forward with my life personally and professionally because of my divorce and because of the affect it’s had on my own career,” he said.