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Monday, May 2, 2016

Man faces prison for molesting boys

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Raytown man convicted on 10 counts of sodomy by a Lawrence County Circuit Court jury is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 4.

Sam Cobb, Jr., 54, was found guilty on 10 counts of statutory sodomy in the first degree. Judge Carr Woods, who presided at the trial, will handle sentencing.

"This was a very emotional case for the two victims," said Robert George, Lawrence County prosecuting attorney. "I hope with this conviction there will be some closure. The jury was very attentive and did an excellent job of considering all the facts before reaching their verdicts.

"This defendant and the victim's mother preyed on these victims for over a year, using the young boys as sex objects," said George. "In addition to sexual abuse, the defendant struck the boys and at one time held a rifle to one of the boy's head and pulled the trigger. After hearing the gun click Cobb said to the boy, 'See I can kill you that easily if you ever tell anyone.' " Part of the evidence at trial was the testimony from one of the victims. Cobb told the boys, prior to being removed from the home, he had killed their father and he could kill the boys, their mother and grandparents and get away with it, George said.
According to the evidence presented at trial, the victim began living with the boys' mother, Sharon Atkeson, after the April 1995 death of their father, Glendale Atkeson. The mother was living with Cobb in a rural farmhouse on the extreme west side of Lawrence County. One of the victims were removed from the house in November 1997 for physical abuse. The second victim was removed in January 1998. Neither victim reported the sexual abuse until April 2005, when one of the victims was caught sexually abusing a cousin.

"The tragic thing about this case is that the boys held their secret so long," George said. "When one of the boys was interviewed about why he was molesting his cousin, the boy said 'because I learned this from my mom and Sam.'

"That statement set into motion an investigation by the Lawrence County Sheriff's office, Lawrence County Children's Division and the Juvenile office." As a result of the combined investigation, charges were filed against Cobb and Sharon Atkeson. Atkeson was convicted in 2006 and was later sentence to 35 years on 12 counts of first degree statutory sodomy and an additional four years on two counts of incest.

George indicated this was a very difficult case to prepare for because of the length of time between the crime and the reporting. There were over 2,000 pages of records, notes and police reports that had to be reviewed in preparation for the trial.

"The bottom line was the testimony of the children," George said. "The boys remembered the abuse and were able to convey to the jury just what happened to them. One of the most compelling statements during the trial is when one of the victims stated that with all the physical and emotional abuse that was happening in the home, the only time he felt loved was when they were being sexually abused."

George planned to seek a substantial prison term on each count and ask that at least some of the sentences run consecutively.

"After every trial, win or lose, I like to speak with the jurors about their experiences during the trial and about why they made their decision on the case. This was the first time that all twelve jurors remained after the trial to discuss the case," George said.

"After the jury was released from the courtroom, and both boys,now ages 18 and 20, asked for permission to personally thank the jury for their decision," George said. "I asked the jurors if they would mind if the boys came in and thanked them. The jurors agreed. Let's just say there was a great deal of tears and hugging that occurred in that room."

Statutory sodomy is an unclassified felony that carries a minimum sentence of 10 years and up or a life sentence in prison.

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