Southwest Washington man who sexually exploited teens sentenced to 20 years

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A southwest Washington man who pleaded guilty in a scheme in which he enticed and pressured teens into sending him sexually explicit photos and videos has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.

Joshua Punt, of Ridgefield, pleaded guilty in April in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to production of child pornography, enticement of a minor, distribution of child pornography and advertisement of child pornography, The Columbian reported.

Punt, 39, also was sentenced Monday to a lifetime of supervised release, and he will be required to register as a sex offender.

Posing as a teenage boy, Punt used the messaging apps Kik and Snapchat to contact teens and convince them to send sexual photos, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The victims did not know Punt was recording their videos and images on a second phone. He then demanded additional photos and videos, and threatened to distribute what he already had to the victims’ classmates or community if they didn’t comply, officials said.

In December 2018, a victim in New York went to the police, who traced the contact back to Punt. His electronic devices were seized and his cellphone was found to contain hundreds of sexually explicit photos and videos, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He was arrested in May 2019.

Victims have been identified in New York, Arkansas, California, Texas, Nevada, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The victims were between 12 and 16 years old, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Donald Voiret, special agent in charge for the FBI Seattle, said in the news release he would encourage parents to engage with their children about the risks of online predators.

The scheme was investigated by the Vancouver Police Department’s Digital Evidence Cybercrime Unit, in conjunction with Homeland Security Investigations.

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