not slowing Internet cases locally
Awell-publicized federal decision affecting Internet
crimes against children has not slowed prosecutions in
Platte County. Geoffrey R. Elsas, 30, of Overland Park,
Kansas, was sentenced to five years in prison September
15 for using the Internet to entice a child for sexual
Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said, It is
business as usual for our Cyber Crimes Unit. We continue
to aggressively investigate, arrest, charge, and convict
predators who surf the Internet intending to harm children.
We will use Missouri law to put a stop to these criminals
regardless of what happens at the federal level.
Elsas state court sentence comes in the wake of
the case involving Jan P. Helder, 42, a Mission Hills
lawyer. Helder was found guilty by a federal jury of attempting
to entice a minor in August, but a federal judge set aside
The federal judges decision generated attention
at both the local and national levels. Local news outlets,
TVs The OReilly Factor, and federal lawmakers
devoted substantial attention to the Helder case. Zahnd
charged Helder in state court shortly after the federal
Zahnd said the facts of Elsas case were similar
to the vast majority cases charging Internet child enticement.
According to Zahnd, on October 27, 2004, shortly after
2:00 p.m., Elsas used the Internet to contact someone
he believed to be a 14-year-old girl. The girl
was actually an undercover detective with Platte Countys
Cyber Crimes Unit.
Elsas began an instant message chat, which turned sexual
in nature. Elsas asked, have u done anything sexually
with guys? and do u like to be naughty?.
He then arranged to meet at an undercover location in
Platte County at 3:30 p.m. to engage in sexual conduct.
Elsas arrived at the location at 3:25 p.m. He was arrested,
and police found a condom in Elsas shirt pocket.
Elsas pled guilty to child enticement September 15, immediately
prior to receiving the five-year sentence.
Zahnd said, Internet predators come from all walks
of life and can look like your next door neighbor. This
man was a college graduate with a loving family and a
young child. But he used the Internet to try to entice
a child, and now he will suffer the consequences.
The case was investigated by detectives in the Platte
County Sheriffs Department assigned to the Cyber
Crimes Unit. It was prosecuted by Myles Perry, the assistant
prosecutor in Zahnds office assigned to the unit.