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Winchester man's child porn case rescheduled

By Joe Beck -- jbeck@nvdaily.com

The trial of a Winchester man facing five counts involving the production, possession and transporting of child pornography has been rescheduled to Sept. 24, according to online documents filed Monday in U.S. District Court.

James Robert Cobler's lawyer filed the motion for rescheduling the trial, initially set for Aug. 27. Assistant federal public defender Joel C. Hoppe said in his motion that he needed more time to conduct plea negotiations or prepare for what he called the unlikely event of a jury trial.

U.S. District Judge Michael Urbanski agreed to the rescheduling.

Hoppe said in his motion that Cobler had been unable to work in his office "for much of the past six weeks ... because of the birth and subsequent hospitalization of his child."

A federal grand indicted Cobler, 27, in late June after an investigation that traced online child pornography files back to an Internet subscriber address that authorities say belonged to Cobler's grandparents, Robert D. and Donna H. Lancaster. They are not charged in the case.

Court documents state that members of the Northern Virginia-District of Columbia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force entered the Lancaster home at 500 S. Washington St. on May 3. Task force investigators found James Cobler at home where court documents say he admitted "to possessing numerous images of child pornography."

Cobler told the investigators that the pornographic images were in a "shared" file folder suitable for downloading by others "using the peer-to-peer network" on his computer.

An affidavit filed by James C. Galbreath, one of the investigators, states that Cobler admitted having sexual contact four times with a 4-year-old boy he had babysat within the previous month.

Cobler told investigators that he had used a digital camera to videotape and take about 10 photos of himself performing sex acts on the child, according to the affidavit. He placed the video and images of the child in a folder on his computer," the affidavit states.

Another investigator, Michael R. Wagoner, found the folder on the computer and recognized the child in the pictures and video as the same one he met on May 3.

The affidavit also states that the child's parents identified him and confirmed that Cobler had been babysitting in their home for several months.

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