YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – One of the men arrested after an undercover sex sting in May was sentenced in court Monday morning.
Joel Kurz, 31, of Boardman, was sentenced to five years probation in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Judge Anthony Donofrio placed several restrictions on Kurz, including no internet access on any phones that he uses. He will also continue his counseling for pornography addiction.
Kurz was one of 16 men arrested in Operation Pedo-Cure III. He pleaded guilty to a fifth degree felony charge of importuning and a fourth degree felony charge of attempted sexual contact with a minor.
Kurz was arrested after he went to meet what he thought was a 14-year-old girl he was speaking to on the internet for sex.
Instead, Kurz had been chatting with an undercover officer for the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Prosecutors recommended six months in prison.
Defense attorney Ed Hartwig argued for probation, as did Kurz’s father. They detailed for the court the counseling programs Kurz has undertaken on his own since he was arrested.
Another defendant in the case also received probation facing the exact same charges, Hartwig said.
Judge Donofrio said the nature of the charges is disturbing, but he did not want to interrupt the progress Kurz has made during therapy.
Kurz must also register as a sexual offender.
Judge Donofrio warned Kurz if he does not abide by his probation, he will not hesitate to send him to prison.