United States Attorney Joe Kelly announced that Robert K. Hopkins, 40, formerly of Central City, Nebraska, was sentenced today in Lincoln, Nebraska, by Chief United States District Judge John M. Gerrard for production of child pornography. Hopkins was sentenced to 30 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.
In December of 2019, a mother reported that she believed her eight-year-old daughter had been the victim of a sexual assault by Hopkins, who had been a family friend. During a forensic interview, the child informed investigators that Hopkins had taken herself and some other children on an outing to a trampoline park in early December. At one point during the outing, Hopkins had taken the victim alone away from the park on an errand. Thereafter, Hopkins drove with the girl out into the country and parked his vehicle on the side of the road. While parked, Hopkins used his cellular phone to take sexually explicit photographs of the girl. Through this and subsequent forensic interviews, the girl additionally indicated that Hopkins had sexually assaulted her on several other occasions stemming back to at least 2018.
A search warrant was executed at Hopkin’s residence and for his electronic devices. An extraction of his cellular phone revealed images as described by the victim which were taken in December of 2019.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations along with the Grand Island Police Department and the Hall County Sheriff’s Department.