Former Cooperstown Teacher Sentenced to 200 Months in Prison for Sexually Exploiting Three Children
BINGHAMTON, NEW YORK – Justin Hobbie, age 42, of Springfield Center, New York, was sentenced today to 200 months in prison for persuading three girls between the ages of 14 and 17 to engage in sexual activity and transmit live depictions of that activity to him.
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. In pleading guilty, he admitted that from 2015 to 2018, he persuaded three girls to engage in sexually explicit conduct and live-stream that conduct to him over the internet. These sexually explicit acts and images were recorded by Hobbie so that he could look at them again.
“While working as a teacher, Justin Hobbie preyed on teenage girls he met online by pretending to be a teenage boy and pressuring victims to make and send him sexually explicit video,” said United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith. “Hobbie has now been held accountable for egregiously exploiting those children over a three year period.”
HSI Special Agent in Charge Kevin Kelly stated: “Child exploitation is an egregious crime especially when children are victimized by a teacher, or anyone in a position of trust. Today's sentencing hopefully begins the healing process and marks a final chapter in a painful period for those affected.”
Hobbie also admitted to amassing a large collection of child pornography using peer-to-peer file sharing software. The collection included videos depicting the rape of toddlers.
Senior United States District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy also imposed a 15-year term of supervised release, to begin after Hobbie is released from prison, and restitution in the amount of $9,999.99. Hobbie will also be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.
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 was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey J. L. Brown.
This case was 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.
There are numerous Internet-based tools that assist parents and guardians in protecting children from online predators. More information is available at the iGuardians web site, operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (https://www.ice.gov/topics/iGuardians), and the NetSmartzKids web site, operated by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (https://www.netsmartzkids.org/).