AUGUSTA — The case of convicted child sex abuser and pornographer Wade R. Hoover is scheduled to return to state court next week as he seeks a reduction in his 60-year sentence for sexually assaulting two boys who were under age 12.

The 38-year-old former martial arts instructor from Augusta raped two boys under age 12 in Kennebec and Somerset counties December 2008-April 2012 and recorded those attacks, which allowed authorities to identify him.

The 60-year term for those sexual assaults was imposed at the Capital Judicial Center in February 2016. At the sentencing hearing, Maine Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy said at the time she understood that this was a “de facto life sentence” for Hoover.

Now, Hoover is contesting the justification for “such a lengthy sentence,” according to court documents. A hearing scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m. is set in the same Augusta courthouse.

Deputy District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh is expected to argue that the 60-year term is appropriate in Hoover’s case.

“The sentence fit the crime,” District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said Friday. “Mr. Hoover used his position as a karate instructor to gain access to young boys, two of whom he drugged and penetrated, and one on more than one occasion. Legislative statute tells us to start our sentencing analysis at 20 years for each time a child under 12 is sexually assaulted. The judge found multiple aggravating factors and arrived at a fitting sentence. The children of our community need to be protected from Mr. Hoover.”

Murphy ordered Hoover’s sentence to be concurrent with the 40-year sentence imposed in federal court, meaning Hoover would go into state custody for the additional 20 years after finishing the federal sentence. That date is listed as Aug. 8, 2047, on a federal Bureau of Prisons website.

He was previously sentenced to 40 years in federal court in July 2013 on charges of sexual exploitation of two boys and child pornography, telling that judge, “I’m pretty much damned in this world and the next.” He is serving the sentence at a federal prison in Tucson, Arizona, and is not expected to attend the hearing next week in Augusta, where he is protesting the longer sentence he received in state court.

Hoover, who is represented in this appeal by attorney Scott Hess, is being allowed to appeal his sentence based on his contention that in imposing a de facto life sentence, “the court failed to sufficiently outline the justification for such a lengthy sentence.”

The appeal cites another case, State v. Sweet, in which a judge imposed a 65-year sentence on a man who sexually assaulted four boys, and the Maine Supreme Judicial Court upheld it, ruling in 2000 that “a sentence of this length will be appropriate only in the most unusual cases.”

Hoover’s motion for sentence reduction/correction was allowed by a panel of three Maine Supreme Court justices. The same panel rejected five other grounds listed in Hoover’s appeal that cited factors such as an abuse of discretion by the court and unreliable evidence.

A hearing in this motion for sentence reduction already has been postponed twice.

In August 2015, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court rejected Hoover’s bid to have the indictments listing those charges dismissed. Hoover had maintained they violated his constitutional right against double jeopardy since he was already being punished for those acts via the federal court system. He also claimed state and federal authorities colluded against him.

He was charged with 13 counts of gross sexual assault and pleaded guilty to four of those charges on Nov. 30, 2015, at a hearing attended by the boys’ parents.

At the February hearing, prosecutor Cavanaugh sought a 65-year sentence for Hoover while defense attorney Scott Hess suggested a sentence in the 25- to 30-year range.

Hess said Hoover had no criminal record before these offenses and that he was in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan before being discharged honorably. Hess said Hoover struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions after returning to civilian life.

Hoover, a 1995 graduate of Hall-Dale High School in Farmingdale, was owner and chief instructor at Koshowarrior’s Martial Arts and the United Martial Arts academies in Lewiston, where he taught children as young as age 3. He was living in Augusta and working as a veterans’ support coordinator at the National Alliance for Mental Illness Maine when he was arrested in October 2012 at his workplace on charges of possessing sexually explicit materials.

Acting on a tip, members of the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit and the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency went to Hoover’s office, seized his computer and found dozens of images of child pornography, some of which showed him abusing two boys.

Hoover told investigators earlier that year he had taken a pair of children who were students at his martial arts studio for two nights to a cabin in The Forks Plantation in Somerset County. There, he took pictures and video of himself sexually abusing one of the boys, an 11-year-old, to whom Hoover also had given sleep medication.

Hoover had been friends with the boys’ families. At the February 2016 sentencing hearing, one of the boy’s mothers asked the judge to impose the longest possible sentence on Hoover in order to protect other children from him.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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