A man from southwest Washington pleaded guilty to a scheme in which he coerced and pressured teenagers to send him sexually explicit photos and videos was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.
Joshua Punt, of Ridgefield, pleaded guilty to child pornography production, enticing minors, distributing child pornography and promoting child pornography in the US District Court in Tacoma in April, The Columbian reported.
Punt, 39, was also sentenced to a life-long supervised release on Monday and is required to register as a sex offender.
Posing as a teenager, Punt used the Kik and Snapchat messaging apps to contact teenagers and convince them to send sexual photos, according to a US Attorney’s press release.
Little did the victims know that Punt recorded their videos and pictures on a second phone. He then requested additional photos and videos and threatened to distribute what he already had to the victims’ classmates or community if they fail to comply, officials said.
In December 2018, a victim went to the police in New York, who traced the contact back to Punt. According to the US Attorney’s Office, his electronic devices were confiscated and hundreds of sexually explicit photos and videos were found on his cell phone. 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 US Attorney’s Office.
Donald Voiret, special agent in charge of the FBI Seattle, said in the press release that he would encourage parents to educate their children about the risks of online predators.
The plan was investigated by the Vancouver Police Department‘s Digital Evidence Cybercrime Unit in conjunction with Homeland Security Investigations.