Former 2nd ID museum curator admits guilt, awaits sentencing
July 25, 2004
SEOUL — Under a plea agreement reached with federal authorities earlier this month in Arkansas, the former 2nd Infantry Division Museum curator has admitted to child pornography charges and will face sentencing in October, officials said.
Robert Kimball Combs, 49, admitted to mailing a compact disc containing images of child pornography last year in an effort to convince a woman and her young daughter to “have fun" with him. The recipients of the CD turned out to be undercover North Little Rock police officers running a sting operation on Internet predators.
Combs was to stand trial on charges of mailing child pornography and using the U.S. Postal Service to entice a minor to engage in the production of child pornography.
According to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Combs agreed to plead guilty to the first charge in return for prosecutors dropping the second charge.
In his plea, Combs admitted in a court hearing to mailing one CD with 118 images of nude girls in sexually explicit situations. According to the Democrat Gazette, Combs answered a question from the presiding judge by saying the girls in the photos were between 10 and 20 years old.
According to prosecutors, Combs began posting messages to an Internet chat room in November 2003, exchanging e-mails with the two male officers, who were posing as the mother and her 11-year-old daughter. At the time, Combs was living in Uijongbu and serving as the 2nd Infantry Division Museum director.
The sting operation had been ongoing since February of that year and had netted dozens of arrests, police officials told Stripes earlier this year.
“I’d love to meet you and your little girl. I’d like to do a private modeling session and see where it leads,” Combs wrote in one e-mail, according to an affidavit in the case filed by the North Little Rock police.
Prosecutors said Combs then sent the explicit images, directed the mother and daughter to explicit Web sites and arranged a meeting with them in January 2004. He was arrested Jan. 2 at a North Little Rock hotel where he planned to meet with the woman and her child, police said.
Army Criminal Investigative Command agents participated in a search of Combs’ office and home in Uijongbu after the arrest, but officials have said there was no evidence Combs committed similar crimes in South Korea.
According to the Democrat Gazette, Combs’ attorney said the 2nd ID museum director was visiting family in Missouri and decided to make a “side trip” to Arkansas.
Though Combs’ sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 5, he began serving his term a few days after the July 15 hearing in which he agreed to the plea deal. Officials said Combs faces a federal prison term of between five and six years.