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Texas Man Sentenced to 10 Years for Traveling to Wisconsin for Illegal Sexual Activity with Minor

MADISON, WIS. – Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that today Robert Hosler, 27, Austin, Texas, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to 10 years in federal prison for interstate communications and travel to engage in illegal sexual activity and for possessing child pornography.  

            Hosler was convicted in May following a one-day court trial of two counts involving interstate communications and travel to engage in illegal sexual activity.  He also pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography.  In August 2018, Hosler responded to an advertisement posted on the Internet, which offered a 12-year-old child for sexual purposes.  In response to the ad, he flew from Texas to Minnesota, rented a car and travelled to a prearranged meeting location in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where he was arrested by law enforcement officers on September 6, 2018.  The advertisement was posted by an undercover law enforcement officer. 

            At the time of his arrest, Hosler possessed a cell phone containing visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct; at least one of the depictions was of a minor who had not attained 12 years of age.  In his response to the ad, Hosler expressed an interest in the possibility of videotaping his sexual contact with the minor.  At the time of his arrest, recording equipment was found in his car. 

Judge Peterson called the defendant selfish and self-deluded, whose primary concern was his own sexual interest.  Peterson was concerned that Hosler was able to persuade himself that having sex with a 12-year-old was an OK thing to do.

The charges against Hosler are the result of an investigation by the Eau Claire Police Department, Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, Central Texas Violent Crimes Task Force, Wisconsin State Patrol, and West Central Drug Task Force.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elizabeth Altman and Diane Schlipper handled the prosecution. 

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.  Project Safe Childhood marshals 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 www.justice.gov/psc.

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