Jacob Eldon Hobart, 26, pleaded guilty Wednesday to possession of sexually explicit images of minors.
Boise police detectives began investigating Hobart in December 2012, after receiving a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Officials at a social networking site observed Hobart claiming he was 15 but found a chat conversation in which he said he was actually 25. The networking site reported that Hobart had exchanged messages with a teenage girl who said she was 15.
Detectives found hundreds of emails from the social media site in a Yahoo account that Hobart maintained. The emails showed that he had requested to be friends with dozens of teenage girls 13 to 19, based on the ages listed in their profiles.
Investigators found that Hobart had exchanged sexually explicit photos with a 14-year-old girl from Washington state. It turned out the girl Hobart had exchanged messages with who said she was 15 was actually 12, police said. Hobart also sent that girl sexually explicit photos, according to court records.
Hobart faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He is set to be sentenced July 22 by Chief District Judge B. Lynn Winmill.
Hobart is currently serving a sentence of between two years and 10 years in an Idaho prison. He was convicted in an unrelated case of sexual battery involving lewd or lascivious acts on a 16- or 17-year-old minor.
The federal case was investigated by the Boise Police Department, a member of the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, a statewide coalition of local, state and federal law enforcement and prosecution agencies focused on apprehending and prosecuting individuals who use the Internet to criminally exploit children.
For additional information about the Idaho ICAC Task Force and a list of all the participating agencies, visit www.icacidaho.org.