(WETM) – Robert Hardin, 76, has pled guilty to traveling from Michigan to the Binghamton, New York area to engage in “illicit sexual conduct with an 11-year-old child.”
The announcement was made Tuesday by United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman and Janeen DiGuiseppi, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
As part of his 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 messages with an undercover officer posing as the mother of an 11-year-old girl.
In these messages, the US Attorney’s Office says 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 at a location in the Binghamton area.
Hardin, of Kalamazoo, was arrested after arriving at the location and has been in custody since that date.
Sentencing is scheduled for March 1, 2022, in Binghamton, before Senior United States District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy. Hardin faces up to 30 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of at least 5 years and up to life.
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 is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrian S. LaRochelle as a part of Project Safe Childhood.