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May 6, 2005

Investigator played role of deaf teen

From: Chicago Tribune, IL - May 6, 2005

By Barbara Bell
Special to the Tribune
Published May 6, 2005

An investigator pretended to be a deaf teenage girl as an excuse not to talk to former sports broadcaster Robert Goldman, who is accused of trying to meet the teen for sex, according to court testimony Thursday.

Goldman, 44, is on trial in Lake County Circuit Court on charges of indecent solicitation of a minor. Prosecutors allege that he drove to Waukegan in April 2002 to meet someone he thought was a 16-year-old girl after talking with her over the Internet for months.

State's Atty. Patricia Fix asked Mark Pleasant, the investigator for the Lake County state's attorney's office, why he developed the online identity of a deaf teenager who was home-schooled.

"It allows KristiM to be available all the time," said Pleasant, whose America Online screen name was KristiM1585. He testified he pretended to be 15 at the start of the conversations with Goldman in January 2001.

Goldman, of the 1200 block of Candlewood Court in Aurora, was sports director at CLTV and a sports announcer at WGN-AM 720, both owned by Tribune Co., which also owns the Chicago Tribune. He was fired shortly after his arrest in April 2002.

Goldman's attorney, Stephen Komie, said in opening statements Wednesday that police zeroed in on Goldman because he was well-known.

Posing online as the girl, Pleasant said the teen didn't have a license and couldn't drive when Goldman first suggested they meet in early 2001, the investigator testified.

Using Kristi's online name, Pleasant informed Goldman months later that the girl would meet him on Aug. 17, 2001, at the Warren-Newport Public Library in Gurnee, he said.

The girl told Goldman she had turned 16 and had her driver's license, he said.

When Pleasant and other police officers were unable to find Goldman, Pleasant signed on to the Internet, again pretending to be Kristi, and asked why Goldman hadn't shown up.

In an e-mail, Goldman said he was there for 30 minutes but gave up, Pleasant said.

According to a transcript that Pleasant read of his alleged Internet conversations with Goldman, the two corresponded again about a week later. Goldman said he was worried about what would happen if he was caught with Kristi, Pleasant said.

"If you were 18 that would be different," he said in an e-mail, according to the transcript.

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