No jail time for Abbotsford man who sent sexually explicit photos to 12-year-old

Judge says Robert Koenig believed the girl was 17 and that it was legal to send her such images

Robert Koenig

An Abbotsford man who sent sexually explicit images to a 12-year-old girl, including one of him wearing a diaper and with a soother in his mouth, will not serve any jail time.

Robert Madison Koenig, 25, was recently given a six-month conditional sentence after previously pleading guilty to two charges – making sexually explicit material available to someone under 18 and child luring.

Judge Kenneth Skilnick said evidence presented in Abbotsford provincial court supports Koenig’s assertion that he did not know that the complainant was 12. He instead thought she was 17, and he incorrectly presumed it was legal to exchange such images with a person of that age, Skilnick said.

The judge’s written ruling indicates that Koenig had been travelling with his family in Europe in August 2014 when he was using the app Whisper on his laptop. The social media platform allows users to anonymously post confessions and chat with other users.

Koenig responded to a post on Aug. 11, 2014, and then began exchanging messages with the individual, who was living in Utah.

During that exchange, he confessed that he had a fetish and sent a picture of himself wearing a diaper, according to the court documents.

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“The accused asked the complainant if she wanted to see pictures of him engaging in his fetish, and when she said she did, he sent seven more pictures of himself … some of which showed graphic imagery that is clearly inappropriate for children, and which many adults would find disgusting,” Skilnick said.

Later that day, the conversation turned to non-sexual matters, and Koenig asked the girl her age. She replied that she was in Grade 11, and did not reveal her true age, according to the court documents.

The pair exchanged phone numbers and continued to message each other via text.

The documents state that the two continued their sexually explicit conversation, including exchanging videos.

Skilnick said, in total, Koenig sent 15 photos and two videos to the girl, and the girl sent two photos and one video to Koenig.

The girl’s father became aware of the text messages on her phone on Aug. 19, 2014, and alerted police in their area.

Investigators then determined that Koenig lives in Abbotsford, and the matter was reported to local police.

Following an investigation, which included the seizure of his electronic devices, Koenig was arrested on July 9, 2015.

“He said that it was his honest belief that the complainant was 17 years of age, because that’s what she told him, and also because he believed that Whisper’s terms of service indicated that users should be at least 17 years of age,” Skilnick said in his written ruling.

Following Koenig’s arrest, police said he had posed as a 15-year-old boy during the exchanges with the victim, but that was not mentioned in the court documents.

Skilnick said Koenig has expressed “genuine remorse” for his behaviour, especially when he found out that the victim was only 12.

However, the judge said that Koenig’s “honest belief” about the girl’s age did not afford him a defence to the crimes for which he was sentenced.

A psychologist who interviewed Koenig prior to sentencing concluded that Koenig has a “clear sexual paraphilic infantilism disorder,” but this is not related to pedophilia or a sexual attraction to children.

The psychologist concluded that Koenig is at a “low risk for further sexual offending.”

The victim stated in her victim impact statement to the courts that she experiences feelings of sadness, guilt and rage, and believes Koenig is “sick and twisted.”

“The victim impact statement illustrates why this type of offence is so troublesome,” Skilnick said.

“When one engages in this type of conduct, he or she has no idea who is actually on the other end of the interaction in cyberspace. Often, it is a vulnerable child, as was the case here.”

A conditional sentence means that Koenig could go to jail if he breaches any of his court-ordered conditions. Those specific conditions were not listed in the written court ruling.

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