February 6, 2013

Augusta karate instructor pleads guilty to child porn charges

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

BANGOR -- An Augusta man has admitted recording himself sexually assaulting one of his karate students on video and using his employer's Internet connection to distribute images of child pornography.

Wade Robert Hoover, 35, pleaded guilty Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Bangor to production of child pornography and to possession of child pornography.

He faces a minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years for the production of child pornography charge. The possession charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney F. Todd Lowell, who prosecuted the case against Hoover, said the sentencing would take place later. Lowell also said the attorneys told the judge on Tuesday there was no agreement on the length of the sentence.

According to court records, Hoover shared child pornography images over the Internet connection from his Augusta office at the National Alliance on Mental Illness Maine, where he worked as the veterans' support coordinator.

Hoover also was owner and chief instructor at Koshowarrior's Martial Arts and the United Martial Arts academies in Lewiston, where he taught children as young as age 3, according to Maine State Police.

A federal court affidavit by William Hoyt, a special agent with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, describes how Hoover created some video images.

Hoover told investigators that in early June he took two children who were students at his martial arts studio for two nights to a cabin in The Forks Plantation and took pictures and video of himself sexually abusing an 11-year-old boy who had taken sleep medication. Investigators said the boy's parents noted he appeared to be under the influence of substances when he arrived home.

Hoover told investigators he brought his medication for sleep and anxiety to the cabin.

Another video taken from Hoover's computer shows Hoover and an unidentified man sexually assaulting another young boy, Hoyt's affidavit says.

Hoover told investigators that "he has a sexual preference for smooth chubby boys between 12 and 14 years of age."

He also told investigators that he used his personal laptop to download child pornography via the network at the NAMI offices in Augusta.

Hoover originally was arrested on state charges in October, but those charges were dropped in December in favor of the federal charges, which carry higher penalties.

Authorities began investigating Hoover after seeing "that 10 known videos of child pornography were being made available" from the Internet address held by NAMI.

On several dates throughout October, federal authorities used search warrants to seize items from Hoover's Augusta home and from the Koshowarrior studio in Lewiston, according to documents filed in federal court. Among the items collected were a DVD/CD described as containing account data, video and still cameras plus memory cards, external hard drives for computers, documents and prescription bottles.

Authorities also searched Hoover's vehicles, and on Oct. 6 they searched him at the Kennebec County jail, taking six digital photographs of his tattoos. Hoover has been jailed since his arrest.

Virginia G. Villa, of the Federal Defender Office in Maine, was appointed as Hoover's attorney. She did not return a phone message left Tuesday afternoon.

Betty Adams -- 621-5631
badams@centralmaine.com

 

(This story was modified from an earlier version to indicate that the child pornography distributed over the Internet was not that of Hoover assaulting a child.)

 

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