Man pleads guilty to two sex offenses in police online sting

By Joe Beck

A Woodstock man accused of soliciting sex with a boy online who turned out to be a police investigator was convicted and sentenced Wednesday in Shenandoah County Circuit Court.

Hobart Day, 52, pleaded guilty to proposing sex with a minor older than 15 through online messages and of attempting to take indecent liberties with a child less than 15.

Judge Dennis L. Hupp sentenced Day to 10 years in prison, all but nine of which were suspended. Day also received a sentence of 10 years probation upon his release from incarceration. The conditions of probation prohibit Day from viewing any type of pornography while allowing him limited access to the Internet.

The case stemmed from a Woodstock police investigation that began when an investigator noticed an advertisement on a Craigslist website from someone seeking companionship with a younger male.

The investigator, Derek Good, identified himself as a 14-year-old boy in replying to Day through the Craigslist advertisement.

Messages between the two began to take on sexual overtones after a few days, police said.

Good accepted an invitation from Day to meet in person, a meeting that Good said raised the prospect of a sexual encounter. Day was arrested when he arrived at the specified location.

Handwritten notes by Hupp in the court documents state that Day faced a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in prison under the original charges filed in the case, but one of the charges was reduced “in consideration of the defendant's health condition.”

Campola said Day had no other criminal history, but he received a tougher sentence than those contained in state guidelines.

The guidelines call for probation and no incarceration,” Campola said. “We insisted on active jail time.”

Day is scheduled to report to the jail to begin his sentence at 9 a.m. July 9.

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