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Tompkins County man sentenced to 12 years for trying to entice minor

Joel Cook, a 49-year-old man from Tompkins County, has been sentenced to over 12 years in prison after admitting to sending sexually explicit text messages to a 14-year-old child in March 2023. Cook attempted to persuade the minor to engage in sexual activities with him. The minor did not engage with Cook’s messages, and her family promptly reported the incident to the authorities.


The Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office, in collaboration with the FBI, conducted a sting operation by posing as the young girl and continuing communication with Cook. During this period, Cook detailed the sexual acts he envisioned and requested explicit images from the supposed child. He was arrested in April 2023 upon arriving at a location where he believed he would meet the girl.

Federal Judge Anne Nardacci sentenced Cook to 151 months for attempted enticement of a minor and illegal weapon possession, given Cook’s prohibited status due to a prior conviction. Post-release, Cook faces 15 years of supervised release and must register as a sex offender, marking a significant consequence for his actions.