The guard tipped off Des Peres police officer Trent Koppel, who pulled over Mc Arthur's Buick Le Sabre after he'd begun to cruise through the lot. " Then, Koppel recounts, she reached through the open window and pressed her palm against his chest.
A tall, square-shouldered brunette, Koppel stepped out of her patrol car and strode over to the maroon sedan. Mc Arthur had one hand on the steering wheel, the other wrapped around his penis. "He was going at it." While booking Mc Arthur for public indecency, Koppel came across a photograph in his wallet. "There are certain alarms that go off." Three days later, county police officers showed up at Mc Arthur's Ballwin home with a search warrant and seized his computer.
Earlier this summer, Roderick Mc Arthur shuffled into a courtroom at the Thomas F.
Eagleton Federal Building for his sentencing hearing.
Bracing himself against his walker he asserted, "I was wrongfully convicted of this supposed crime." Judge Stohr went on to sentence Mc Arthur to twelve and a half years in federal prison for one count of possession of child pornography. Attorney Catherine Hanaway has made prosecuting child pornography offenders a top priority since her appointment in July 2005.
Hunched over his walker, the 77-year-old Ballwin man was trailed by his wife and two middle-aged women who came in support.
One of Mc Arthur's supporters buried her face in her hands before the prosecutor finally concluded, "He stated he touched a minor's vagina on two occasions." Molesting the twelve-year-old girl wasn't the last of Mc Arthur's offenses, Costantin said, reminding the judge that Mc Arthur had come to the attention of investigators after he was caught exposing himself in a West County Center parking lot.
Costantin was referring to the Saturday afternoon of April 1, 2006, when a mall security guard spotted Mc Arthur masturbating in his parked car.
She recalls: "This penis was where [the toddler's] was, but it was ginormous! He said he visited adult porn Web sites, but that he'd never looked at child pornography.
In any case, he argued, he never saved smut of any sort to his hard drive.
On April 2, the judge had found Mc Arthur guilty of possessing child pornography, and now, because of a prior offense, he faced a ten-year minimum prison term. Attorney Carrie Costantin argued that Mc Arthur deserved a stiffer penalty because he'd shown a pattern of deviant behavior.
On this Friday morning of July 25, the only question left unresolved was whether Stohr might mete out an even longer sentence. In 1986, Mc Arthur pleaded guilty to child sodomy, and Costantin read aloud the statement he gave police more than twenty years ago.