Eric Schulkey told the judge he was not a harm to anyone except himself.
The 33-year-old Kennard man apologized for his actions Tuesday after he was arrested for enticing women to sexually exploit their children over the internet. He pleaded guilty to visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct and incest, both Class 2A felonies, as part of plea agreement in June and had hoped to receive probation.
“I'm a good person. I truly am,” he said. “This window has already defined me. I'm going to live with this until the day I die.”
When Washington County District Court Judge John E. Samson announced probation was inappropriate, Schulkey fell back in his chair and put his hands on top of his head.
As Samson announced the sentence — 8 to 16 years in prison on both charges, which will be served concurrently — Schulkey began to cry.
“Oh, my god,” he yelled.
Schulkey was arrested Aug. 21, 2018, in Blair following a nearly two-month long investigation. Police said he tried to persuade hundreds of women into engaging in illegal and inappropriate sexual acts with children over the internet.
Investigators reported Schulkey used an alias — Steve Christensen — to hide his identity while contacting women through social media from January through July.
Chief Deputy County Attorney Erik Petersen said Schulkey “preyed upon young, vulnerable women” and called him a “master manipulator.”
At least two women — one in North Platte and another in Topeka, Kan. — were in contact with Schulkey and had exchanged photos and videos with him.
Kari A. Bock, 34, of North Platte was sentenced to 18 months probation on a reduced felony count of child abuse after cooperating with Washington County authorities.
Bock sent a photo to Schulkey, which showed two children as observers to sexually explicit conduct. She also had inappropriate contact with a teenage relative at Schulkey's direction.
Schulkey's attorney, Glenn Shapiro of Omaha, said his client had never sexually acted out against anyone else and all the events happened in “a three-month window of Mr. Schulkey's otherwise decent life.”
Shapiro said Schulkey was a first-time offender and had nothing more than a traffic ticket before he was arrested.
Samson said he was concerned that Schulkey “significantly” minimized his actions and behaviors during a presentence investigation. He called Schulkey's behavior “predatory” and “grooming.”
“Through the use of the internet in your mother's house and at your place of work, you've shown yourself to be a dangerous individual in the lives of children,” Samson said.
As part of his sentence, Schulkey will also be required to register as a sex offender.