Florida Man Faces Hundreds of Counts of Sex Crimes Involving Children, Animals

A Florida man has been arrested at the conclusion of a nearly one year long investigation and charged with hundreds of counts of sex crimes, including possession of child and animal porn and sex with minors.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said its investigators ran across Austin Hoffman, 28, during an undercover operation targeting adults trying to exploit children online. An undercover detective, posing as a juvenile, made contact with Hoffman, who said he was 19. That encounter led to his first arrest on May 19, 2022, charged with use of computers to solicit illegal acts while lying about his age and unlawful use of a two-way communication  device.

“This is why we do this kind of operation; we want to find the predators before they find our children,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “Little did we know, this would be the beginning of a much darker, troubling discovery into the suspect’s disgusting, secret life.”

Investigators seized a cell phone belonging to Hoffman and obtained a search warrant to investigate its contents. Over the next several months, forensics technicians working with detectives found more than 100 videos of sexual child abuse — including infants — computer generated images of child sexual abuse, and videos of bestiality.

The technicians also determined that Hoffman had shared more than 100 videos with other people.

Hoffman was arrested again on December 1, 2022, and charged with out of state transmission of child pornography, possession of 10 or more images of child pornography, possession of realistic computer-generated videos of child pornography, and filming, distributing, or possessing images or videos of bestiality.

With Hoffman still in custody, investigators executed a search warrant at his home and found more child sexual abuse material on several electronic devices. And then, they learned that Hoffman had been engaging in sexual activity with juveniles.

Three victims gave detectives information about the alleged abuse, leading to more charges. Those included possession of child pornography, promotion of a sexual performance by a child, traveling to meet a minor after using computer services to solicit illegal acts, unlawful use of a two-way communications device, unlawful sexual activity with a minor, transmission of harmful material to a minor, and use of computer services to solicit illegal acts.

The investigation was not over for detectives. While implementing a residential search warrant, investigators found inside the home multiple electronic devices with additional child abuse material.

Hoffman remains behind bars with a bond of more than $3 million. Investigators ask anyone with information to contact them at 813-247-8200.

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[Featured image: Austin Hoffman/Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office]