A former elected official and teacher who ran for mayor in an area village this year is facing charges for allegedly attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced.
Charles Hustis III, a former teacher and village board member in Cold Spring, was arrested on Monday, Dec. 16, and charged with one count of attempted enticement of a minor after allegedly using social media to make contact with his teen victim earlier this month, according to U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman.
It is alleged that between Sunday, Dec. 8 and Monday, Dec. 16, Hustis, 36, communicated over Facebook Messenger with a 16-year-old. During these communications, Hustis allegedly sent his victim sexually explicit photos, attempting to arrange a meeting, the U.S. Attorney said.
Berman noted that Hustis allegedly sent those photos and requested the meet with the understanding they would perform various sexual acts. Hustis was arrested on Monday by law enforcement at Foodtown in Cold Spring, where he had arranged to meet the teenager, with the intention of bringing the 16-year-old boy back to his apartment.
“As alleged, Charles Hustis used his social media account in an attempt to persuade an innocent minor victim to meet with him and perform sexual acts. Sexualizing and preying on minors is unconscionable,” Berman said. “Our Office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners at all levels of government to keep our children safe and stop those who seek to take advantage of them.”
Hustis graduated from Haldane High School and worked in that school district for six years until departing in 2016. He reportedly taught his potential victim while serving as a substitute. Hustis previously served on the village's Board of Trustees and lost his mayoral bid in the November election.
If he is convicted, Hustis, 36, will face a term of between 10 years and life in prison. No return court date has been announced, as the investigation is ongoing.
“Predators who use their access to children for their own sexual gratification are a parent’s worst fear come true, and their actions can cause detrimental impacts on the victims,” FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney Jr., said. “I want to thank the agents and detectives who worked this case for the speed with which they acted once they had the information regarding Mr. Hustis’s position in a school. “
Berman said that anyone with information or concerns regarding Hustis should contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation by calling 1-800-CALLFBI.
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