A 20-year-old Canyon County man was sentenced Monday to nearly seven years behind bars for sending child pornography over the internet to a minor.
Justin Schobey was also sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer to a lifetime period of supervised release following his prison term, and was ordered to pay a special assessment of $5,000, register as a sex offender, undergo mental health counseling and pay restitution to be determined.
Posing as an 11-year-old girl named Ashley, Schobey used the chat app Kik to entice a prepubescent male to send him explicit photos and a video of himself engaging in sexual conduct, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Shawn Andrews.
According to court papers, Schobey had amassed a collection of thousands of images and videos depicting child pornography, many showing minors later identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Possessing and sharing such material “re-victimized the children depicted in those images, a fact compellingly illustrated in the wrenching victim-impact statements” filed with the court under seal, Andrews wrote in his sentencing memorandum.
In a letter to the court, Schobey apologized and expressed remorse. He declined an opportunity to address the court at his sentencing hearing.
His attorney, Nadine Hettle, told the judge that “older peers” first introduced the illegal material to her client, who suffered “significant trauma” in his life which helped make him susceptible to viewing child pornography.
“He knew it was wrong,” Hettle said, adding there was no evidence that her client ever had physical contact with a child. “He wants help — he wants to get over it.”
Schobey pleaded guilty in May to a single count of distribution of child pornography, a felony charge carrying a five-year mandatory minimum sentence.
A three-count indictment filed last year charged Schobey with production, distribution and possession of child pornography.
Schobey was arrested in September 2018 as part of an FBI-led sweep targeting child exploitation crimes.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the internet has greatly increased the availability of child pornography, and digital equipment has made it relatively easy to create, distribute and collect such images.