Ex-police officer sentenced to life in prison for child porn

AP News
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Posted: May 25, 2016 5:48 AM

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) — A former Florida police officer has been sentenced to life in federal prison after pleading guilty to several child exploitation and child pornography charges.

A federal judge in Fort Pierce on Tuesday sentenced 28-year-old Michael Edwin Harding, a former Port St. Lucie police officer.

Federal prosecutors said Harding admitted to distributing videos and photos to internet chat rooms showing young children engaged in sex acts. Authorities say many of the images were discovered on Harding's cellphone, which authorities say he used to create his own child sex videos. They say more images were found on thumb drives and other devices.

The case is part of Operation Predator, a nationwide effort to combat child sexual exploitation, led by the Homeland Security Investigations arm of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.