SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Robert Hardin, age 76, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, was sentenced today to serve 10 years in federal prison for traveling to New York from Michigan for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a 10-year-old child. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman, Janeen DiGuiseppi, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and New York State Police (NYSP) Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen.
As part of his previously entered guilty plea, Hardin admitted that from July of 2021 through August of 2021 he exchanged sexually explicit messages via an online social networking application and text message with an undercover officer posing as the mother of a 10-year-old girl. In these messages, Hardin expressed a desire to engage in sexually explicit conduct with the child. Hardin further admitted that on August 24, 2021, he traveled from Michigan to New York in order to meet with the child and engage in sexual conduct with her. Hardin was arrested after arriving in New York and has been in custody since that date.
Chief United States District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby also imposed a 20-year term of supervised release, which will start after Hardin is released from prison, and ordered Hardin to pay a $100 special assessment. Hardin will also be required to register as a sex offender.
This case was investigated by the FBI Mid-State Child Exploitation Task Force, comprised of FBI Special Agents and Investigators of the New York State Police, Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrian S. LaRochelle as a 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.