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Posted February 1, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

Prosecutor: Child molester had 'dangerous' infectious disease

By Joe Beck

A Winchester man convicted of using a 4-year-old boy to produce child pornography had a "dangerous communicable disease" when he molested the victim, a federal prosecutor said in a sentencing memorandum filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Healey asked that James Robert Cobler, 28, of Winchester, be sentenced to life imprisonment, citing offenses "especially despicable and egregious given the defendant's extraordinarily selfish exploitation of a very young child during which he risked transmitting to the child a potentially life-threatening condition."

Cobler is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael F. Urbanski at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. Cobler's attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Joel C. Hoppe, filed a sentencing memorandum that was sealed at his request. Cobler is also facing sentencing on one count each of transportation of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.

Healey's sentencing memorandum describes Cobler's crimes in graphic detail. She said he knew of his disease, which she did not identify, as he molested the boy.

"Simply stated, the defendant has demonstrated that he will stop at nothing to satisfy his own urges and interests," she added.

Cobler, whose last known address was 500 S. Washington St., came under investigation in mid-April. An affidavit signed by James C. Galbreath, a Frederick County Sheriff's Office investigator working with the Northern Virginia-District of Columbia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, says law enforcement officials traced online child pornography files back to an Internet subscriber address listed to Cobler's grandparents. They are not charged with any crimes.

Members of the task force found Cobler and his grandparents at home when they arrived on May 3. During an interview, Cobler told investigators that he had sexual contact with the 4-year-old four times within the past month.

Court records state the child's mother said Cobler had been babysitting the boy at the victim's residence since mid-September 2011.

The sentencing memorandum states that Cobler's offenses involved possession of more than 600 images of child pornography that included adult males raping young and small children.

The sentencing memorandum also states that Cobler admitted during a taped interview with investigators that he played "a sex game" when he was 12 years old with a boy he estimated to be about five or six years younger than him.

The memorandum also states that Cobler admitted that he researched whether his infectious disease could be transmitted by saliva when he performed oral sex.

The memo states he concluded there was "a very small or no chance of transmission unless he had a cut in his mouth and the child had a cut. After learning there might be a possibility of transmission, he nevertheless performed oral sex on the child . . ."

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

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