Karolus sentenced to 10 years for child pornMichael Karolus will spend the next decade in federal prison for possessing at least a few dozen images of child pornography. But it’s a history of far more disturbing behavior by the Grand Forks-area man that troubled U.S. District Court Judge Ralph R. Erickson as he handed down the maximum sentence Monday in Fargo.
By: By Kristen M. Daum, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
FARGO — Michael Karolus will spend the next decade in federal prison for possessing at least a few dozen images of child pornography.
But it’s a history of far more disturbing behavior by the Grand Forks-area man that troubled U.S. District Court Judge Ralph R. Erickson as he handed down the maximum sentence Monday in Fargo.
Authorities were originally drawn to Karolus not by way of the sexually explicit images of children he’d traded over email, but by a suspicious listing the 28-year-old posted on the free classifieds website Craigslist.
Under a headline of “Need young, hot babysitter, 13 to 19, in Grand Forks,” Karolus sought an underage girl to care for his 5-year-old child and also to “maybe help me out with a few things after you put him to bed.”
He specifically asked for the sitter to wear “short, tight, hot and sexy, and sometimes slutty, clothes when you come over,” according to court testimony Monday.
“That is more disturbing to me than possessing the images,” Erickson said, later adding that Karolus “poses a real and present danger to children right here in our community.”
Karolus told investigators he made other unsuccessful attempts to meet underage girls using chats on Yahoo messenger.
In requesting a 10-year sentence, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Puhl asked Erickson to consider Karolus’ history of predatory behavior.
“Just looking at the number of images, it arguably doesn’t look like the most egregious case … but it still is a serious case because it involves other disturbing conduct,” Puhl said. “He has gone out and tried to meet young girls.”
Karolus’ attorney, Chris Lancaster, unsuccessfully argued for leniency in requesting a sentence of 6 1/2 year sentence.
Lancaster emphasized the relatively small number of images Karolus possessed in comparison to other child pornography cases.
Erickson said Karolus poses a risk to children and “no reasonable justification can be made for a sentence of less than (10 years).”
“This is a person attempting to be a hands-on offender but was unsuccessful due to his own ineptitude — not any moral code,” Erickson said.
Karolus is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Kristen Daum is a reporter
at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.