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Prison given in sexual assault case
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Prison given in sexual assault case

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A Beatrice man was sentenced to prison Wednesday following a sexual assault that occurred earlier this year.

Joseph C. Hochstein, 36, was sentenced to two years in prison for tampering with a witness, one year for each of two counts contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one year for negligent child abuse. The sentences will run consecutive, totaling five years in prison.

Hochstein will also serve one year on post release supervision and be required to register as a sex offender for 15 years following his release.

Defense attorney Lee Timan argued that the victims and Hochstein had differing views of what happened, and the case would have been difficult to prove had it gone to trial.

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But Judge Rick Schreiner said Hochstein greatly benefited from an earlier plea agreement and the judge was inclined to believe the victims.

“Your criminal history has several crimes of deceit,” Schreiner said. “One of those is making a false statement to a police officer, there are theft charges, a fraudulent insurance act, those entries in your criminal history lead me in the path of believing the children in this matter and not you. I believe you got a good deal because you took advantage of young children who don’t want to talk about the things that happened to them, the things that you did to them, in public because it embarasses them.”

As part of a plea agreement to avoid the case going to trial, five additional charges were dropped. Those included two class 1D felony counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child.

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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