TAMPA — A 43-year-old Hernando County man pleaded guilty Thursday to a child pornography charge that likely will send him to prison.
Paul Thorpe of Brooksville entered a plea in federal court to one count of possessing and transmitting child pornography. Prosecutors agreed to drop a second count as part of the deal.
Last November, an undercover agent signed on to a peer-to-peer file-sharing network and downloaded 33 images and one video containing child pornography from an Internet service provider address connected to Thorpe's home, the plea agreement states.
Prosecutors say Thorpe admitted to using the network to search for and download images of children engaging in sexually explicit acts and send them to other users. Investigators found 155 images on Thorpe's laptop computer.
The charge carries a maximum prison term of 20 years and a mandatory minimum sentence of five years. Prosecutors agreed to file a motion with the court supporting a departure from the guidelines if Thorpe assists with an ongoing investigation.
Sentencing is set for Oct. 24.