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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Winchester Man Pleads Guilty To Sex Charges

James Cobler Admits To Sexually Exploiting A Minor, Possessing/Transporting Child Pornography

HARRISONBURG, VIRGINIA -- A 27-year-old Winchester man pled guilty yesterday afternoon in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Harrisonburg to child exploitation and child pornography charges.

James Cobler, 27, of Winchester, Va., pled guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court to three counts of sexually exploiting a 4-year-old boy for the purpose of producing child pornography, one count of transporting child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography.

“Yesterday in United States District Court, Mr. Cobler has been held accountable for heinous acts of child exploitation,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “This case demonstrates our ongoing commitment to vigorously prosecute predators like Mr. Cobler. It should also serve as a further warning that parents must be vigilant in protecting children from the dangers posed by those who seek to exploit them in insidious and varied ways.”

According to evidence presented at Cobler’s guilty plea hearing by Special Assistant United States Attorney Shannon Wright, an investigator with the Page County Sheriff’s Office, working in an undercover capacity on a peer-to-peer file sharing network, downloaded several child pornography images from Cobler in April 2012.

A subsequent search warrant was issued and executed at Cobler’s Winchester home. While conducting the search, Cobler admitted to downloading child pornography and further admitted that on multiple occasions, he had molested a 4-year-old boy whom he occasionally babysat. He also admitted to taking pictures and a video of the sexual abuse.

At sentencing, Cobler faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum possible sentence of 120 years in prison.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Frederick and Page County Sheriff’s Offices and the Northern Virginia-D.C. Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The United States Secret Service conducted the forensic exam. Assistant United States Attorney Nancy Healey and Special Assistant United States Attorney Shannon Wright are prosecuting the case for the United States.

Updated April 15, 2015