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Ithaca Man Gets 13 Years in Federal Prison


An Ithaca man will spend almost 13 years in federal prison for attempted coercion and enticement of a minor. Joel Cook was also sentenced to 151 months to run concurrently for possessing a loaded handgun as a convicted felon.

United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman and Craig L. Tremaroli, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), made the announcement.

In his previous plea of guilty, Joel Cook admitted that in March of 2023, he sent sexually explicit text messages to a 14-year-old child in an attempt to entice and coerce her into engaging in sexual conduct with him. The child did not respond to Cook’s messages. Instead, her family reported Cook to the police, after which the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation assumed the child’s identity. Thereafter, for nearly a month, the 49-year-old Cook engaged in sexually explicit messaging with someone whom he thought was the child, explaining what type of sexual conduct they could engage in with one another, and asking her to send sexually explicit images to him. Cook was arrested on April 8, 2023, after arriving at a location where he had arranged to meet her.

Additional investigation led to the discovery of a loaded Hi-Point, .380 caliber pistol hidden inside a hat in a dresser drawer in Cook’s bedroom. Cook was prohibited from possessing the firearm as a result of a 2022 Chemung County Court conviction for Grand Larceny in the Third Degree.

In addition to serving 151 months in prison, Hon. Anne M. Nardacci sentenced Cook to 15 years of supervised release upon his release from imprisonment, and he will be required to register as a sex offender.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Mid-State Child Exploitation Task Force and the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa M. Fletcher as a part of Project Safe Childhood.

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