Ex-mental illness worker gets 40 years for production of, downloading child pornography

Posted July 02, 2013, at 5:17 p.m.
Last modified July 02, 2013, at 7:30 p.m.
Wade Robert Hoover
Kennebec County Sheriff's Office
Wade Robert Hoover

BANGOR, Maine — An Augusta man who pleaded guilty in February to one count each of production of child pornography and possession of child pornography was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court.

Wade Robert Hoover, 35, who wept openly throughout most of his 90-minute sentencing hearing, also was sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release after he completes his prison term.

U.S. District Judge John Woodcock imposed the maximum sentences on each count and ordered Hoover to serve them consecutively. Hoover faced a mandatory minimum of 15 years and up to 30 years in federal prison on the production charge and up to 10 years in prison on the possession charge.

“It is hard for me to find words to describe your conduct in this case because your conduct is simply unspeakable,” Woodcock said in imposing the sentence. “Not only did you violate the law, you violated the most basic moral code in society. You preyed upon young boys when they were vulnerable.”

Hoover pleaded guilty to the federal charges in February when he admitted that he sexually assaulted two boys under the age of 12 who took karate lessons from him at his Lewiston studio, and recorded the assaults. He did not share the images on the Internet, according to court documents.

Woodcock said that the beginning portion of the videos Hoover made showed the boys “at their very best — full of energy, clowning around, boys being boys.” Later on, the videos showed Hoover “raping” his two victims, treating them as “mere objects for your own pleasure,” the judge said.

The mothers of the victims urged Woodcock to keep Hoover away from children for as many years as possible. The Bangor Daily News is not identifying the boys or their families.

“The kids looked up to him, they trusted him,” one mother, who was not asked to identify herself in court, said. “He taught them how to protect themselves from evil people in the world out there when they needed to be protected from this evil man.”

Hoover told the judge that he was a fan of Superman.

“I’m definitely not Superman,” he said. “I cared very much for those boys. I cared very much for their families. I took away the biggest thing they gave me — trust.

“I want to say that I’m sorry, but I don’t think that word is going to show how sorry I really am,” an emotional Hoover said. “They have a right to hate me. I hate myself.”

Woodcock also ordered Hoover to pay more than $5,000 in restitution on the possession of child pornography charge to an out-of-state male victim whose image has been widely distributed on the Internet. The money is earmarked for counseling, according to court documents.

He was arrested Oct. 3 at the Augusta office of the Maine chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, where he worked. He was originally charged in state court. He was arrested on the federal charge Dec. 7 at the Kennebec County Jail, where he has been held since October unable to post $100,000 cash bail.

Hoover has been indicted in Somerset and Kennebec counties on charges of sexually assaulting the two boys separately. Both victims were under the age of 12 when the alleged abuse took place. Hoover has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Images of Hoover having sex with both boys were found on his personal computer, which he had at his workplace the day he was arrested, according to court documents. No images of child pornography were found on NAMI computers.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Lowell, who is prosecuting the case, recommended in a sentencing memorandum filed in federal court in Bangor that Hoover’s sentence be at or near the maximum of 40 years.

Federal Public Defender Virginia Villa urged Woodcock to impose a sentence of 20 years.

It usually takes between three and four weeks after a sentencing for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to assign and transfer a prisoner to a federal facility, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

Hoover is due back in Somerset County Superior Court in August, according to District Attorney Maeghan Maloney, who also is the head prosecutor in Kennebec County. Maloney said Tuesday after Hoover was sentenced that she has asked that Hoover be held in Maine through mid-August, when he is due again in state court.

The prosecutor said she is waiting to hear from the victims’ families about how they want her to proceed on the state charges. Maloney previously said that she would seek state sentences that Hoover would serve after he completes his time in federal prison.

If the victims’ families agree, Maloney could work out deals in which Hoover could plead guilty to the state charges and serve his state prison time concurrently with his federal prison term.

If Hoover chose to go to trial on the charges, which most likely would not be scheduled until next year, he would have to be returned to Maine from a federal prison at state expense. His victims also could be called to testify at a trial.

Hoover faces up to life in state prison on the gross sexual assault charges due to the ages of his victims.

Investigators went to the NAMI office after an agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security who was monitoring the Ares computer network saw that 10 known videos of child pornography had been made available over that network to an IP address registered to NAMI, which provides support, education and advocacy to the mentally ill and their families.

During his discussions with agents, Hoover admitted that he “has a sexual preference for boys between 12 and 14 years of age,” according to court documents.

To reach a sexual assault advocate, call the Statewide Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Line at 800-871-7741, TTY 888-458-5599. This free and confidential 24-hour service is accessible from anywhere in Maine. Calls are automatically routed to the closest sexual violence service provider.

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