State trooper gets probation, agrees to resign over sex solicitation

State trooper gets probation, agrees to resign over sex solicitation

URBANA — An Illinois State trooper who admitted he offered to pay a woman to have sex with him has been sentenced to a form of probation and agreed to resign from his job.

Leonard Kirkpatrick, 50, of Charleston pleaded guilty Wednesday before Judge Tom Difanis to misdemeanor solicitation of a sex act, admitting that on April 1, he made contact via text message with a person he believed to be a prostitute, offering to pay her cash for sex.

In return for his plea agreement, worked out by State’s Attorney Julia Rietz and Champaign attorney Mike Zopf, more serious felony charges of official misconduct that alleged he did so while on the job as a trooper were dismissed. Kirkpatrick also agreed that he would resign from his $96,000-a-year position within 30 days and pay a $500 fine.

He was sentenced to 18 months of conditional discharge, a form of probation that does not require regular reporting to a probation officer.

A state trooper for 14 years, Kirkpatrick has been on paid leave since the allegations came to light earlier this year. His wife was in court with him during the guilty plea.

Rietz said when the solicitation occurred, Kirkpatrick sent a text to a person he believed to be “Megan,” who had an advertisement on Backpage.com, a website that was shut down in April by the Department of Justice for allegedly facilitating prostitution and sex trafficking.

Rietz said on April 1, Kirkpatrick texted Megan that he was a police officer on duty and that he was lonely. He sent pictures of himself in uniform as well as a photo of the $120 he intended to pay her. The discussion involved times and a hotel to meet at in the future, Rietz said.

A person who monitored the page for Megan contacted Champaign police about the texts. Champaign police alerted Illinois State Police, which launched its own internal investigation.

Three days later, Rietz said, undercover state troopers sent Kirkpatrick a text with a different phone number for Megan. Rietz said Kirkpatrick contacted Megan again at the new number and suggested getting together the next day for $120. The meeting did not happen.

Sections (2):News, Local
-