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Bond reduction granted in sexual assault case
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Bond reduction granted in sexual assault case

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A bond reduction was granted to a Beatrice man currently in custody after being arrested in March for allegedly sexually assaulting two girls.

Joseph C. Hochstein, 36, had requested his bond be reduced from $500,000, which was set at the time of his arrest.

Gage County Chief Deputy Attorney Amanda Spracklen-Hogan objected to a reduction, but requested that if Judge Rick Schreiner did grant a reduction it not be less than $250,000.

Schreiner set a new bond at $250,000. Hochstein will be required to post 10% of the amount to be released from custody. A term of the bond is that he not have contact with anyone under 18 years old.

Defense attorney Lee Timan made the request to reduce bond in District Court Wednesday.

Timan pointed out that the bond was set based on the original charges, which included two felony counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child. Following a plea agreement, Hochstein is currently charged with tampering with a witness, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child and negligent child abuse. The most serious charge is a class 4 felony.

While a plea agreement was reached, Spracklen-Hogan said Hochstein is still facing serious charges.

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“While we do understand that the plea agreement led to a reduction of charges and he’s no longer facing a 1B felony, he has since been found guilty of a class 4 felony involving witness tampering, a child abuse charge involving exposing children to sexual assault behavior, as well as two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, one of those being the subject of an active protection order,” she said.

In addition, Spracklen-Hogan said information from the jail indicates Hochstein has been in communication with one of the victims through a third party.

“The state clearly has concerns that Mr. Hochstein will not follow the court’s orders,” she said. “…Obviously, the state has concerns about protecting these victims and we ask the court not to reduce the bond.”

Timan pointed out that Hochstein is set to be sentenced Nov. 18 in the case, and he is not requesting probation.

“He’s well aware that the parties agreed to recommend straight sentences,” Timan said. “This is not a case where either side is going to be asking for probation. Mr. Hochstein does certainly have criminal history and has been to prison before, he’s fully anticipating a prison sentence in this case. He’s been in since March 6, and is asking for small window to make sure his property is secured and make arrangements before he goes in to serve the rest of the time.”

The sexual assault was reported by one of the victims on March 1, and Hochstein was arrested following an investigation.

The 13-year-old and a second female victim, age 12, were both staying at Hochstein’s residence when the alleged assault occurred. Beatrice police said Hochstein provided the girls with alcohol, and threatened one of the victims when he learned she was considering reporting the assault to police.

One of the victims was from the Beatrice, and the other from Plymouth.

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