December 10, 2012

Augusta karate instructor charged with child porn makes first federal court appearance

Wade Hoover, 35, waives detention, preliminary hearings in US District Court in Bangor;

By Craig Crosby ccrosby@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

An Augusta man charged with filming himself sexually assaulting one of his karate students and using his employers Internet connection to distribute the images waived his right to a detention hearing, consenting Monday to stay in custody pending his trial.

Wade Hoover, 35, made his first appearance in court Monday on federal charges he produced and distributed child pornography. He faces 15 to 30 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine if convicted.

He also waived his right to a preliminary hearing at the U.S. District Court appearance in Bangor.

Hoover was arrested Oct. 3 by state and federal agents at the Bangor Street office of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Maine, where he worked. He was charged with possession of sexually explicit materials of minors under age 12, a felony offense, which carries a five year maximum sentence.

Federal charges include enticing or forcing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct so it could be recorded, and of producing it with materials that were sent through interstate commerce.

State charges against Hoover were dropped last week in light of the federal charges, which carry higher minimum sentences.

Hoover is owner and chief instructor at Koshowarrior's Martial Arts and the United Martial Arts academies in Lewiston, where he teaches children as young as age 3, according to Maine State Police.

Federal authorities used search warrants on several dates in October to seize items from Hoover's Augusta home and from the Koshowarrior studio in Lewiston. Among the items collected, according to court documents, were a DVD/CD containing account data, video and still cameras, memory cards, external hard drives for computers, documents and prescription bottles.

Authorities also searched his vehicles, and on Oct. 6 searched him at the Kennebec County jail, taking six digital photographs of his tattoos.

A federal court affidavit by William Hoyt, a special agent with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, describes how some video images were allegedly created by Hoover.

Hoover told investigators that in early June he took two children who were students at his martial arts studio for two nights to a cabin in The Forks Plantation and took pictures and video of himself sexually abusing an 11-year-old boy who had taken sleep medication. Investigators said parents of the boy noted he appeared to be under the influence of substances when he arrived home.

Hoover told investigators he brought his medication for sleep and anxiety to the cabin.

Another video taken from Hoover's computer shows Hoover and an unidentified man sexually assaulting another young boy, Hoyt's affidavit says.

Hoover told investigators that "he has a sexual preference for smooth chubby boys between 12 and 14 years of age."

Hoover also told investigators that he used his personal laptop to download child pornography via the network at the NAMI offices in Augusta. Kennebec County Superior Court documents say he lost that job as a result of his arrest.

Hoover attracted the attention of investigators in late August when "10 known videos of child pornography were being made available" from a computer using that office's Internet address.

Craig Crosby -- 621-5642
ccrosby@mainetoday.com

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