Former Cooperstown Teacher Pleads Guilty to Sexually Exploiting Three Children
BINGHAMTON, NEW YORK – Justin Hobbie, age 41, of Springfield Center, New York, pled guilty today to three counts of sexual exploitation of a child.
The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Kevin Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Hobbie was a gym and health teacher in Cooperstown, New York, until his arrest in December 2018. In pleading guilty, Hobbie admitted that from 2015 to 2018, he persuaded, induced, enticed and coerced three girls under the age of 16 to masturbate and show him their genitalia by transmitting live depictions of this sexually explicit activity to him. These sexually explicit acts and images were recorded by Hobbie so that he could look at them again.
Hobbie also admitted that he persuaded, induced, enticed and coerced the three girls to take and send him pictures of their genitalia. In response to Hobbie’s instructions to do so, the three children took lewd and lascivious pictures of their genitalia for him, and at his request sent those pictures to him using the Kik and Snapchat phone messaging applications.
Senior United States District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy will sentence Hobbie on December 19, 2019. Hobbie faces at least 15 years in prison on each count, with a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison per count. The term of imprisonment for each count can run concurrent or consecutive to the term of imprisonment for other counts, at the discretion of the Court. Hobbie will be required to serve a term of supervised release of at least 5 years and up to life, following his term of imprisonment. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.
Hobbie will also be required to register as a sex offender.
This case was investigated by HSI Albany with assistance from the New York State Police Computer Crimes Unit, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey J. L. Brown.
This case is being prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood. Launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, Project Safe Childhood is led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), and is designed to marshal federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit https://www.justice.gov/psc.