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Fort Wayne child-porn distributor sentenced


A 55-year-old Fort Wayne man was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for distributing and possessing child pornography.

U.S. District Court Judge Theresa Springmann sentenced Michael Watkins this week to 121 months in a federal prison after a November guilty plea to two charges related to child pornography.

Watkins must also serve an additional five years on supervised release after he completes his prison term.

The two counts made up an indictment issued more than a year ago by a U.S. District Court grand jury in Fort Wayne.

When Watkins pleaded guilty, he also agreed to forfeit a computer, an external hard drive and nine CDs, according to court documents.

In October 2011, Watkins was arrested by agents with the Department of Homeland Security on charges of possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography.

Investigators with the Cyber Crimes Center found a Web address linked to Watkins, advertising sexually explicit images of children. They searched the home where Watkins was staying and found external hard drives, CD-ROMs and a computer that contained images of minors engaged in explicit sex, according to court documents.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. The nationwide initiative, which aims to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, was launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.