Underage Girls Paid for Sex by 67-year-old Man Were 'Aggressors' In the Case, Kansas Judge Says

A Leavenworth County, Kansas, judge branded two young teenagers "aggressors" at the sentencing of a 67-year-old man who offered to pay them for sex.

District judge Michael Gibbens sentenced Raymond Soden to five years and 10 months in prison back in December after he pleaded no contest to an electronic solicitation charge in August, The Associated Press previously reported. The Kansas City Star revealed Gibbens's comments about the girls, aged 13 and 14, on Sunday.

Soden spent three months soliciting the 13-year-old girl via Facebook messenger last year, The Star previously reported. He requested nude photos and physical sex acts in exchange for money. He later told police he knew the girl was underage.

Soden knew both of the girls through their mother, who performed odd jobs at his house in return for cash. The girls' older sister, The Star reported, acted as a "pimp" for her younger siblings, and arranged for them to meet the older man.

Get your unlimited Newsweek trial >

"I do find that the victims in this case, in particular, were more an aggressor than a participant in the criminal conduct," Gibbens said before he sentenced Soden, according to a transcript obtained by The Star. "They were certainly selling things monetarily that it's against the law for even an adult to sell."

The judge accepted the girls were "vulnerable," calling the case "unfathomable" and "bizarre." But he questioned their failure to show up at court for the sentencing hearing. He noted it was "possible" they had tried to arrange for Soden to be robbed, as alleged by the defense attorney.

"I think that a 13-year-old who offered what she offered for money is certainly an aggressor, particularly since she's the one that had to travel to Mr. Soden," Gibbens said.

The judge cited Soden's age, low intellectual functioning and physical health as factors in deciding his prison time. State guidelines advise sentences of eight years longer than what Soden received, The Star reported.

Get your unlimited Newsweek trial >

Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson told The Star that prosecutors were considering filing an appeal. "We always try to zealously advocate for the victims and community safety in every case we pursue," he said.

A Florida attorney general recently told parents to pay close attention to their children's online behavior, after a 41-year-old man was accused of using the internet game "Fortnite" to lure a teenager into sexual activity.

Underage Girls Paid for Sex by 67-year-old Man Were 'Aggressors' In the Case, Kansas Judge Says | U.S.