by RMHP Staff
A Georgia dressage trainer busted in a child sex sting operation last year was sentenced to seven years behind bars. Kenn Acebal pleaded guilty yesterday to three counts of computer pornography.
"The charges don't mean Acebal was looking at pornography on his computer," says District Attorney Jennifer Hartline, who prosecuted the case. "He used the computer to entice a child for sexual purposes."
The "child" was an uncover FBI agent. Acebal came to the attention of law enforcement over the internet when he began a series of “chats” with undercover agents regarding his desire to have sex with a minor. Court documents state Acebal described his "desire to engage in anal-genital contact with someone the accused believed to be a nine year old male child, named Tim." He also engaged in chats with what he believed to be eleven and fourteen year-old boys, according to the documents.
As part of his negotiated plea agreement three counts of criminal attempt to commit aggravated child molestation and three counts of criminal attempt to commit child molestation were dropped.
Acebal will serve 13 years probation once he is released from prison. Hartline says he is required to register as a sex offender and will remain on the registry for life. Conditions of his release, according to the probation office, include sex offender treatment, he is to have no contact with children, limited computer use, and he can't live or work where minors congregate.
We contacted Acebal's defense attorney Carl Lietz III. He said he would get back to us, but we did not receive a call before publishing.
Just before Acebal's arrest he was lauded by the equestrian community for his work with economically disadvantaged children. The charity's executive director told Rate My Horse PRO in late April 2011 that he was no longer associated with their organization.
Acebal is scheduled to be back in court in June for a jury trial in another criminal case. He was picked up by Forsyth County officials last summer for allegedly driving naked while performing a "sex act" on himself. A pipe with methamphetamine residue was found in his vehicle according to the police report. He is charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance, possession and use of drug related objects, and public indecency.
Acebal previously ran his business Kenn Acebal Dressage out of Yellow House Farm in Alpharetta. He was suspended from the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) in August 2011, according to the association's website.