The state’s highest court has upheld Wade R. Hoover’s 60-year prison term for sexually assaulting two boys younger than age 12 whom he had drugged and videotaped during the assaults.

“Hoover’s sentence neither carries an inference of gross disproportionality nor offends prevailing notions of decency … ,” Associate Supreme Court Justice Donald Alexander wrote for the seven-member court. The opinion was published on Tuesday.

Hoover, 39, had challenged the length of the term, calling it a “de facto life sentence.”

In oral arguments before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, also known as the Law Court, in May, Hoover’s attorney, Scott Hess, argued it was too long and violated the state constitution.

Hoover, a former martial arts instructor now serving 40 years in prison on federal convictions for producing and possessing child pornography, some showing him sexually abusing the two boys under age 12, says the 60-year state sentence also lacks opportunity for rehabilitation.

Hoover was sentenced to 35 years for sexually assaulting a boy in Kennebec County and a consecutive 25 years for sexually assaulting a different boy in Somerset County. The offenses occurred December 2008 to April 2012, and the sentences are to run concurrently with the 40-year federal term.

Paul Cavanaugh, deputy district attorney, urged the justices to uphold the sentence, saying it was proper.

At oral arguments, he told them, “It could have been longer.”

On Tuesday, District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said via email, “Sixty years is not too long of a prison sentence for the gross sexual assault of two children. The No. 1 one purpose of our criminal laws is to protect the most vulnerable of our society. No one is more vulnerable than a child. I am grateful to the Law Court for upholding the sentence and affirming the convictions.”

Hoover, 39, was not present during those arguments, because he is at a federal prison in Tucson, Arizona,

On Tuesday, Hess said, “I will be informing Mr. Hoover (about the opinion) and evaluating his remaining legal options for appeal.”

Maine law governing imprisonment for someone convicted of gross sexual assault was amended in 2015 to say that someone convicted of assault on a child not yet 12 years old faces “a definite term of imprisonment for any term of years.”

This was Hoover’s second loss at the state appeal court level.

He previously challenged the state’s prosecution of him on the child sexual assault charges after he pleaded guilty to the federal charges of sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams