SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Robert Hardin, age 75, of Michigan, was charged today with interstate travel with the intent to engage in sexual conduct with a minor. The announcement was made by Acting United States Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon and Janeen DiGuiseppi, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The criminal complaint alleges that during July and August 2021, Hardin communicated through a social media application with an undercover officer posing as a mother who was willing to make her 10-year-old daughter available for a sexual encounter. It further alleges that on August 24, 2021 Hardin drove from his home in Michigan to a location near Binghamton, New York, with the intent to engage in sexual conduct with the child. Upon his arrival at the location, Hardin was arrested. The charge in the complaint is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Hardin appeared today before United States Magistrate Judge Miroslav Lovric and was ordered detained pending a hearing on August 27.
If convicted of this offense, Hardin faces up to 30 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of at least 5 years and up to life. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors. Hardin would also have to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.
This case is being investigated by the FBI Syracuse Mid-State Child Exploitation Task Force. This task force is comprised of FBI Special Agents and Investigators of the New York State Police, Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrian LaRochelle as part of Project Safe Childhood.
Launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, Project Safe Childhood is led by United States Attorney’s offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit https://www.justice.gov/psc.
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