TX man convicted of trying to meet minor in Eau Claire

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MADISON, Wis. (RELEASE FROM DOJ)-- After a one-day court trial, Robert Hosler, 28, Austin, Texas, was found guilty today by U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson of two counts involving interstate communications and travel to engage in illegal sexual activity. The verdict was announced by U.S. Attorney Scott C. Blader for the Western District of Wisconsin. Hosler waived his right to a trial by jury.

Hosler pleaded guilty today to a third charge, possessing child pornography. Hosler admitted that at the time of his arrest in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, on September 6, 2018, he possessed a cell phone containing visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. At least one of the depictions involved a minor who had not attained 12 years of age.

The evidence presented at trial established that 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 Minneapolis, rented a car and travelled to a prearranged meeting location in Eau Claire, where he was arrested by law enforcement officers. The advertisement was posted by an undercover law enforcement officer.

“The defendant traveled to Wisconsin with the intent to sexually assault a child,” said U.S. Attorney Blader. “My office will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners at the local, state, and federal level to bring those who seek to sexually exploit children to justice.”

Hosler’s sentencing has not been scheduled. He faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a maximum of life in federal prison.

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. The prosecution of the case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elizabeth Altman and Diane Schlipper.