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Probation for Fort Carson soldier convicted in solicitation case

October 31, 2014 Updated: October 31, 2014 at 5:29 am
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A Fort Carson soldier accused of asking more than a dozen girls and young women to watch him masturbate for money was sentenced Thursday to 10 years of sex offender intensive supervised probation.

Duston Ridner, 44, pleaded guilty in August to one count of sexual obscenity, although he admitted to the other charges in court Thursday. He was arrested in May after reports that he had solicited girls and women between ages 12 and 22 from a red pickup truck under the guise of asking for directions.

Ridner did not touch or expose himself to any of those he solicited, but the sex offender program is strict. He is prohibited from contacting anyone younger than 18, including his own children. He must also register as a sex offender and is prohibited from using computers or smartphones without approval.

Ridner is a decorated Fort Carson soldier who has been in the Army for 12 years. He has received the Bronze Star, Iraq Campaign and Global War on Terrorism Service medals.

Fort Carson confirmed Thursday that he is still active duty. A decision regarding his duty status has not yet been made, but his attorney, Ed Farry, said he will be separated from the military under an other than honorable 
discharge.

On at least some occasions, Ridner was in uniform, prosecutor Chelsea Schinnour said.

It's unclear whether Ridner would continue to receive Army benefits, such as health care to cover therapy and counseling. He confirmed to Judge Scott Sells that he has been seeing several therapists.

Sells said he didn't think the probation sentence was sufficient for what Ridner had done. He recalled watching the evening news before Ridner's arrest, when police were searching for a man reportedly soliciting girls. Ridner "certainly put this community in turmoil," the judge said.

Those Ridner approached may no longer trust men in uniform, Sells said, and may fear strangers legitimately asking for help or directions.

No victims appeared in court Thursday.

The probation term allows Ridner to receive sex offender treatment, while a prison sentence would have been shorter and would not have allowed for such extended supervision.

Sells said he agreed with Schinnour that probation would be more effective than a prison sentence.

Before receiving his sentence, Ridner read from a statement that he said took months to write, acknowledging his nervousness. He told the court he does not deny any of the charges against him and takes full responsibility for his behavior. Ridner has been battling alcoholism and pornography and sex addictions, according to Schinnour.

"I realize now the selfishness of my actions," he said, adding that he also recognized the terror girls and women must have felt when he approached them.

Sells warned Ridner he won't get a second chance if he violates his probation and he'll get the maximum punishment.

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Contact Kassondra Cloos: 636-0362

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