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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

200-year sentence handed down to Cobb in abuse case

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Raytown man who sexually abused two young boys was sentenced to 200 years in prison for his crimes.

On Friday, Judge Carr Woods sentenced Samuel E. Cobb, 54, to 10 20-year sentences on 10 counts of first degree statutory sodomy. Judge Woods ordered that the sentences run consecutively.

"The victim's family and the prosecutor's office are very pleased with the sentences entered by the court in this tragic case," said Lawrence County Prosecutor Robert E. George.

In July, a Lawrence County jury found Cobb guilty of sodomizing two victims, age 6 and 8, for an 18-month period between 1996 and 1997. The children were eventually removed from the home in 1997 following allegations of physical abuse, and in 2005, the boys reported the sexual abuse.

The abuse occured while Cobb and the victims' mother, Sharon Atkenson, were living together in a rural farmhouse in western Lawrence County.

During the trial, George said the boys did a superb job of explaining to the jury the way their mother and Cobb abused them. Atkenson was Cobb's girlfriend at the time of the abuse.

"Each boy was consistent in their testimony, and although the defense attorney attempted to shake their testimony, the boys remained strong and confident," said George.

"These boys had to face the man in court and tell the jury the horrible life they lived while he was living in the home with the boys' mother," George continued. "The psychological, physical and sexual abuse was overwhelming."

In 2006, a separate jury found Atkenson guilty of 14 counts of statutory sodomy for her involvement in the case. She was sentenced by Judge Alan Blankenship to 35-year sentences on each count to be served concurrently.

In sentencing Cobb, George asked the judge to consider the extreme extent of the abuse the two boys suffered under the care of the defendant.

In particular, George told the judge about the time Cobb held a rifle to the head of one of the boys and pulled the trigger.

"When the gun did not go off, Cobb told the boy, 'See? It would be just that easy to kill you,'" George said.

"The tragic thing about this case is that the boys held their secret so long," George said following the jury trial. "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.'"

The case was investigated by the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department, Lawrence County Children's Division and the Juvenile office.

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