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Ex-husband of woman charged in child porn sting wins custody of children

An Albemarle County court awarded temporary custody of two girls to their father and approved the appointment of guardians ad litem — that is, lawyers to look after their interests — after their mother’s recent arrest on child enticement and child pornography charges.

Joel Hoppe, the girls’ father and a federal magistrate judge, emerged from Albemarle County Circuit Court Friday afternoon, declining comment on the legal woes of his ex-wife, Eleanor Hunton Hoppe.

Also declining comment was Eleanor Hoppe’s father, Eppa Hunton V, who told the court that he was attempting to represent his daughter’s interests without actually serving as her attorney.

Near the close of a brief hearing, Hunton, who sat at the defense table, pleaded with Judge Claude Worrell for permission to amend the proposed rulings.

"Would it be possible to add that they cooperate on custody with the mother’s family?" Hunton asked the judge.

"Not at this time," Worrell replied.

Hunton also expressed a desire to ensure that the judge’s paperwork would be delivered to his daughter, who has been incarcerated under the auspices of the federal district court for the District of Columbia since her March 20 arrest.

"How will it be delivered to her?" asked Hunton.

"I’m not sure yet," replied Worrell.

Albemarle Circuit Court records show that a prior pack of documents was served last month on Eleanor Hoppe in jail by a private process server. She is currently incarcerated at the D.C. Central Detention Facility, also known as the D.C. Jail.

She faces three felony charges stemming from her communications with an undercover FBI agent who was posing as a perverted father interested in abusing his 8-year-old daughter.

One of the three federal charges, enticement of a minor, carries a maximum life sentence. In statements the 45-year-old defendant made in court and at the scene of the sting, the parking lot of a Warrenton motel, Eleanor Hoppe professed her innocence.

Shortly after his ex-wife’s arrest, Joel Hoppe won permission from Judge Cheryl Higgins to reinstate the former couple’s divorce case. He went to court Friday on a motion for temporary custody of his two daughters. He had previously filed a motion to temporarily modify the terms of his divorce agreement.

Although Joel Hoppe does the talking at the federal cases he oversees in the courthouse on Vinegar Hill, he let his attorney Steven L. Raynor handle the case inside Albemarle Circuit Court on Friday. Raynor brought three orders memorializing the day’s decisions, and the judge said that he would enter all three of them.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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