Brian Hoobler found guilty on 13 counts, could face life in prison
A Nevada County jury on Thursday convicted a former Nevada County man on accusations he sexually assaulted a minor, along with several other charges of sexual abuse.
Brian Alan Hoobler, 54, was convicted on 13 out of 16 felony charges, all related to allegations that he sexually assaulted and molested a minor over a period of almost 10 years.
At the sentencing hearing, set for July 23, prosecutors will ask for Hoobler to serve multiple life sentences, Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh said.
The Nevada County Public Defender’s Office, which represents Hoobler, could not be reached for comment.
The jury could not reach a verdict Thursday in three of the 16 counts, with Nevada County Superior Court Judge Robert Tice-Raskin declaring a mistrial for these charges as a result. The District Attorney’s Office moved to drop these charges, as they are not expected to have any impact on Hoobler’s overall sentencing, Walsh said.
The 13 felony charges Hoobler was convicted of include multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault on a child, several counts of forcible lewd acts with a child, and a count of oral copulation with a person under 14.
The trial itself took place over seven business days, excluding a week of jury selection, with the prosecution and defense giving opening statements on June 22. Closing statements occurred Tuesday, and the jury then deliberated for almost 15 hours over the next two days before the verdict was read at around 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
The jury’s verdict in the case is an important victory for victims of sexual abuse, and illustrates that there is hope for victims who come forward against their abusers to see justice done, Walsh said.
“The fact that you have a victim where even though this happened years and years ago, she still came forward and told the truth and the jury believed her. It’s just a great message for victims everywhere,” he said.
Walsh said Hoobler’s conviction is especially significant given that the prosecution’s case rested largely on the testimony of the victim herself, without there being any significant physical evidence in the case due to how far in the past the abuse had occurred. The victim, now in her 20s, testified in court last week that Hoobler molested her from the time she was 4 until she was 11 or 12 years old.
“This case shows that a jury will believe victims, even in cases where you don’t have a lot of physical evidence or contemporaneous proof of a crime,” Walsh said. “It shows that, yes, juries will believe what you have to say, and it’s really a big win for victims,” Walsh said.
Hoobler, who up until his trial had resided in Tennessee, was arrested in February after the victim told law enforcement that he had sexually abused her as a child. The woman apparently decided to come forward with the allegations after a conversation with her mother, when the topic came up, Deputy District Attorney Helenaz Hill has said.
The victim told jurors that the defendant had used a combination of threats and manipulation to keep her quiet as a child, telling her that she would be placed in foster care and that her mother would kill herself if Hoobler’s actions became known. Fear of what the revelations would do to her family kept her quiet for many years, the victim told jurors, before she finally made the decision to come forward.
Stephen Wyer is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at email@example.com
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