UPDATE 1:18 p.m Dec. 17: The Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office issued a correction to their original news release which stated the victim’s father committed suicide. In fact, the victim’s father died of a drug overdose.
WASHINGTON — Joseph Coffinberger of Reston, Virginia, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexually abusing a minor at the Howard County Circuit Court in Ellicott City on Friday morning.
Judge Lenore R. Gelfman sentenced Coffinberger to 30 years in prison for his offenses, which began in 2017 when the boy was 12. Coffinberger met the boy online and began driving to Ellicott City, Maryland, where he initiated a sexual relationship.
In a news release, the County’s State’s Attorney’s office said Assistant State’s Attorney Susan Weinstein told the judge that the boy told his mother he was in a sexual relationship with an older man from Virginia in May. The pair would meet at local motels and engage in sex acts in Coffinberger’s car.
The boy’s mother told police what she knew, and detectives corroborated the victim’s statement using cellphone records, text messages, motel receipts, photographs and text messages sent by detectives posing as the boy.
The boy spoke in court on Friday, detailing what happened to him, but also said: “last night I finally realized I was going to be OK … I’ve waited so long to start healing and I am going to start today.”
He also revealed that his father killed himself after he found out about the abuse. The victim said his father felt he had failed as a parent.
Coffinberger will serve a 30-year sentence for sexual abuse of a minor and a suspended 10-year sentence for sexual solicitation of a minor. Upon his release, he will be placed on probation for 5 years and will have to register as a sex offender.
Earlier in December, a Baltimore County grand jury indicted Coffinberger on 21 counts related to abusing the same boy at a motel in Catonsville, Maryland.
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