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McHenry Co. man goes to prison for refusing to pay child support
By Charles Keeshan | Daily Herald Staff

Michael Strobel


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Published: 8/2/2010 4:31 PM | Updated: 8/2/2010 4:35 PM

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A 31-year-old McHenry County man was sentenced to two years in prison after admitting in court Monday he has not paid child support to the mother of his teenage son for nearly a decade.

Michael D. Strobel of Woodstock pleaded guilty to failure to support a minor dependent, a Class 4 felony, stemming from allegations he did not pay child support between June 2000 and the charge's filing in September 2009, falling about $43,000 behind in payments.

Strobel's refusal to pay for the now 13-year-old boy came at a time when, county prosecutors said, he was keeping up with his child support obligations for another child in Lake County.

"It makes the case that it was willful conduct for him not to pay," said Thomas Carroll, chief of the civil division for the McHenry County State's Attorney. "He was paying support for that (child), but not this one."

State's Attorney Louis Bianchi said prison sentences are not common in child support cases, but the combination of Strobel's past record - which includes an earlier prison stint on a drug charge - and his unwillingness to pay any support for his teenage son made it appropriate in this case.

Prosecutors said they believe Strobel refused to pay the $75 a week ordered as part of a 1998 paternity case at least in part because of animosity with the boy's mother. Before he left court in handcuffs Monday, Strobel turned to the boy's mother, sitting in the back of the courtroom, and mouthed an expletive toward her.

With time served and credit off his sentence for good behavior while locked up, Strobel likely will be free in less than a year. Besides the prison stay, Strobel also was ordered Monday to pay $43,000 restitution to his son's mother.