Thursday, April 17, 2014
The former operator of a youth baseball camp in Maine who was convicted last November of the sexual exploitation of a child and with possessing child pornography could spend the rest of his life in prison.
Robert A. Joubert, 60, of Manchester, N.H., was sentenced Tuesday morning in U.S. District Court in Concord, N.H., to 40 years in prison.
Joubert operated the Seacoast Baseball Academy on Route 1 in York from 2008 until July 2012, when he was arrested in Concord on multiple felony charges of sexual assault of boys – charges that date back to the 1980s.
Following Tuesday’s sentencing, Joubert’s attorney filed an appeal of both the verdict and the sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Joseph Laplante.
The attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Bjorn Lang, had been seeking a sentence in the range of 15 years, but U.S. Attorney John P. Kacavas argued for a significantly longer term of 45 years.
Kacavas could not be reached Tuesday night, but court documents spell out his concerns.
“The defendant is demonstrably a danger to young boys and the community at large. He has, over the past several decades, committed numerous sexual assaults on children,” Kacavas said in the government’s sentencing recommendation. “He has demonstrated a pattern of insinuating himself into the lives of vulnerable boys so he can become their coach, mentor, and ultimately their abuser. This predatory behavior demonstrates a stealthy and dangerous risk to the public.”
Kacavas went on to say that Joubert “has an obsessive and dangerous sexual interest in young boys. He has consistently obtained employment which placed him in close proximity to young boys. In two separate incidents he ingratiated himself into the homes of minor boys where there was no father present, in order to have round the clock access to the child.”
A police affidavit filed by Sean K. Ford of the Concord Police Department describes Joubert as the owner/operator of the Seacoast Baseball Academy, which operated out of the York Indoor Sports Center.
According to Ford, Joubert claims that at the age of 18 he was offered a free agent contract by the Montreal Expos. Ford also said that Joubert has been known to frequent Little League fields wearing a Montreal Expos baseball cap and jacket.
In March 2012, York police, who initiated the investigation, said they received an email from the mother of an alleged victim warning them that Joubert was a “pedophile”.
The Concord Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation launched an investigation into Joubert. According to police affidavits, one victim told officers that Joubert abused him twice, once in 1984 and once in 1986, when he was 9 and 11 years old. The incidents took place in New Hampshire.
A second victim told police Joubert abused him between 2001 and 2004, offering him a baseball glove in exchange for a sexual favor.
At the time of his arrest in 2012, York police said they had been unable to find any victims from Maine.
Following a three-day jury trial, Joubert was found guilty on Nov. 6, 2013, on three counts of sexual exploitation of children and one count of possession of child pornography.
During his trial, four adult men testified that they had been sexually assaulted by Joubert, dating as far back as the 1980s. The assaults took place over 20 years, according to court records.
Joubert sought a sentence of 15 years, arguing that “he was a valuable member of the community evidenced by the many individuals who believe him to be a helpful and talented baseball coach,” Kacavas said.
“However it was that very position, one of trust, that the defendant used to gain access to vulnerable and needy boys so that he could prey on their innocence,” the U.S. attorney said. “Joubert did not prey on all the children he coached. For those boys with attentive and involved fathers, Joubert acted as an appropriate coach.”
Joubert’s appeal will be heard by the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.
Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: