Salem man sentenced for sexual importuning

LISBON – Judge Scott Washam imposed a 9-month sentence on a Salem man convicted of soliciting a sexual act and making comments about the bodies of several children near Reilly Stadium in 2010.

Joseph Kalbfell, 54, Olive Street, could have faced 36 months after he was convicted of sexual importuning following a two-day trial to the bench had been conducted in late October.

Kalbfell pushed the matter to trial and denied any wrong-doing throughout the trial. However, Assistant County Prosecutor Timothy McNicol said Kalbfell eventually admitted to the incident with the 12-year-old boy during the pre-sentencing investigation with a probation department officer. He also reportedly said he wishes it had never happened.

“There was no responsibility a couple months ago,” McNicol said, “When I had to bring five children into the court to testify.”

One of the boys, age 12 at the time of the comments, had testified Kalbfell had drove up in a van and commented about his body. The boy reportedly replied by calling Kalbfell a derogatory name. Kalbfell then reportedly asked the boy if he could perform a sexual act with him, to which the boy again replied using the same derogatory name.

The other children who testified had claimed a man in a similar van made similar comments about their bodies during a two-day period in September 2010.

McNicol further laid out Kalbfell’s past criminal history, which included serving 10 years in prison for arson locally, then recommitting the crime of arson in Colorado, where he reportedly served additional time.

Prior to sentencing, Kalbfell, his attorney Jennifer Gorby and two of Kalbfell’s friends spoke on his behalf.

Gorby pointed out he has been a law abiding citizen for more than 20 years, holding down a job and caring for his daughter, who passed away while Kalbfell’s trial was pending.

Kalbfell said in his experience with the prison system, they may be able to help him with some of his mental issues, but would be unable to help him with his physical ones. He pointed out his physician has told him having the wrong seizure could be life-threatening to him. Because of that, Kalbfell said he moved to a care facility in Lisbon and has someone who checks on him regularly. Additionally, Kalbfell said he is on medication for schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disease.

“Friends have told me I am wrong in my thinking,” Kalbfell said, “but I feel that God has punished me in the ultimate way by taking my daughter.”

Kalbfell and the others asked for probation, noting he has a history of following terms of probation and has parents in fragile health.

“I realize if you break the rules in prison you have nothing to lose,” Kalbfell said, adding, “On probation you have everything to lose.”

However, Washam said he believed prison time was in order, stating he would not forget how the teens testifying in court had described the same type of incident which happened several times over a two-day period. Washam said he also remembers how the one boy testified Kalbfell’s comments had made him feel.

Kalbfell will also be required to register as a Tier I sexual offender.