Matt Campbell, The Kansas City Star –
A Kansas City, Kan., man forced two boys to perform oral sex on him by holding a gun to their heads, according to federal court documents.
Those are among the most disturbing allegations against Robert Poe III contained in a court affidavit that was unsealed this week. He is charged with three counts of transporting a minor for the purpose of engaging in a sexual act.
The affidavit connects Poe, tangentially, to a wide-ranging child pornography investigation that has led to dozens of arrests in the United States and Europe. The case earlier led investigators to Michael D. Arnett of Roeland Park, who is accused of holding online conversations about kidnapping, sexually abusing, murdering and eating children.
Poe is described in court documents as a friend of Arnett. Prison records show that Arnett called Poe this summer from the Leavenworth Detention Center, where he is being held pending trial.
Poe was arrested this month in south Texas after he disposed of his possessions and told one of his victims he was leaving town because “something was coming down,” the affidavit says.
Federal agents interviewed three alleged victims who either told of being molested by Poe or of being the subject of pornographic photographs taken by Arnett and Poe. They also told of at least three other boys they knew who were also victims, court documents say.
The affidavit says Kansas City, Kan., police investigated Poe in 2000 as a suspect in a reported molestation of a 7-year-old Lee’s Summit boy he was babysitting. Poe denied any inappropriate sexual contact with the boy. The case was presented to the Wyandotte County district attorney’s office, which declined to prosecute.
Federal agents interviewed that alleged victim this month. He told them his mother would sometimes leave him with Poe at his residence while she was at work. The mother told investigators she would leave her son with Poe while she and Arnett would “go out” together.
On one occasion, the boy told investigators, Poe told him they were going to play “house,” and he repeatedly forced the boy to perform oral sex on him. On a subsequent occasion, the boy said he told Poe he did not want to play “house,” but Poe held a gun to the back of the boy’s head and threatened to kill him if he did not do it.
Another alleged victim interviewed by federal agents, now 24, said he was 10 to 12 years old when he and his brother were molested by Arnett and Poe. He also said Poe held a gun to his head and forced him to perform oral sex.
The alleged victim said Poe “was into sex toys and vibrators, and used these items on him during the molestation,” the affidavit says. The alleged victim also said Poe and Arnett took him and his brother on weekend trips to Missouri and Oklahoma, where both boys were molested.
The wider federal child porn case began in Boston and spread to Florida and the Netherlands. More than 140 young victims have been identified, and more than 40 men have been arrested.
An analysis of pornographic images in the case led investigators to Arnett. A water bottle visible in one photo contained a logo from a Johnson County aquatic center. From the image, investigators determined the serial number of the camera that took it, and they were able to link that camera to one seized with a search warrant at Arnett’s residence.
Arnett was linked to another defendant in Florida, a puppeteer who entertained children. Federal charging documents allege the two men held extremely graphic online discussions about child pornography and murder, although the Florida defendant said they were merely fantasies.
The Arnett investigation led to an investigation of Poe. A prison recording shows that Arnett called Poe on June 11 and asked him to collect and hold on to some items relating to a minor.
The affidavit alleges Poe told a friend on Aug. 1 that he was a pedophile and was “leaving for good.” Poe signed over power of attorney to the friend and told him to sell his two motorcycles and an SUV, and to give the money to one of the alleged child victims.
That same day, according to the affidavit, Poe told his father that federal agents had been to his home and that he was in trouble for things he had done years ago. Poe was arrested Aug. 13 in Laredo, Texas.