DA criticized after sex offender receives "light" sentence - WSMV News 4

DA criticized after sex offender receives "light" sentence

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Joseph Hobrat pleaded guilty to a lesser charge after being accused of sexually abusing an 8-year-old in her hospital bed. (Photo submitted) Joseph Hobrat pleaded guilty to a lesser charge after being accused of sexually abusing an 8-year-old in her hospital bed. (Photo submitted)

Joseph Hobrat was working as a patient technician at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital and in 2014 police said he walked into a hospital room, closed the curtain, and sexually abused an 8-year-old girl in her hospital bed.

Investigators said they had forensic DNA evidence to prove the crimes.

They charged Hobrat with three counts of aggravated sexual battery.

In a written statement the victim's mother said she wanted the maximum sentence, but that's not what Hobrat received.

Hobrat bonded out of jail almost immediately.

He faced a minimum of eight years in prison and a maximum of 36.

He ended up pleading to a lesser charge and while he will be on the sex offender registry, he'll only have to serve one year in jail.

Chad Butler was the original prosecutor on the case.

He resigned from the district attorney’s office before the case was adjudicated, and when he found out about the one-year sentence, he sent News4 a statement saying, "Shameful. It's painfully obvious Glenn Funk doesn't take raping and molesting children seriously."

The District Attorney’s office responded to the criticism.

Janice Norman is the team leader of the DA's Crimes Against Children Unit.  Norman sent a statement saying:

“It is incorrect to state that this Defendant would have received a 36-year sentence for the charges in this case. The punishment for aggravated sexual battery is 8 to 12 years. Based on the circumstances of this particular case, ADA Jeff Jackson determined that consecutive sentencing would not be imposed by the Court. Therefore, the defendant pled guilty to an eight-year sentence with the final determination to be made by Judge Monte Watkins. At the sentencing hearing, the State argued for the Court to order the Defendant to serve the full eight-year sentence in jail. However, the Judge ordered the Defendant to serve one year in jail and ruled the balance of the seven years to be served on probation. The Defendant was also ordered to register as a sex offender. The victim’s mother was in court and approved of the way our office handled this case. Our entire office diligently prosecutes all cases of Crimes Against Children and to suggest otherwise is false.”

News4 spoke to the victim's mother by phone Wednesday afternoon. She said she and her husband “are very upset and don't understand how this happened especially since all of the evidence was there.”

Hobrat is scheduled to be released from jail on May 3, 2019. His attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

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