Austin 'repeat offender' sentenced to 20 years in child porn case

Phillip Arlan Koontz, 53, pleaded guilty earlier this year.
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Federal prosecutors have announced a lengthy sentence for a southern Minnesota man who was nabbed in a child pornography sting. 

Phillip Arlan Koontz, 53, was sentenced on Thursday to 20 years in prison for distribution of child porn, following an investigation that began nearly three years ago.

According to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office of Minnesota, in April 2018, Koontz began chatting online with a federal agent posing as a 13-year-old girl, and sent the agent "multiple images containing sexually explicit content involving minors."

Prosecutors say he falsely represented the images as depicting his daughters and her friends, and was later found in possession of "478 sexually explicit images depicting minors, including prepubescent minors."

He pleaded guilty to the crime in late January. The news release says he has a "previous felony conviction in Mower County for criminal sexual conduct in the second degree." 

Though officials did not elaborate on the previous conviction, local reporting shows that Koontz was investigated for child porn just months before he began chatting online with the aforementioned undercover agent.

Per an Austin Daily Herald report from 2018, the Austin Police Department received a tip from Internet Crimes Against Children in December 2017 that Koontz was in possession of illicit images. 

That same month, the paper notes, investigators executed a search warrant at his home and found multiple child porn pictures on his electronic devices. He pleaded not guilty in that case; it's not clear if it was separate from the federal case for which he was just sentenced. 

“This repeat offender will spend the next 20 years behind bars,” said Jamie Holt, acting special agent in charge of HSI St. Paul, in the news release. 

“Community safety is our top priority and hopefully this lengthy sentence will give peace of mind to his victims and their families. HSI special agents will continue to work with our Minnesota law enforcement partners, like the Austin police, to relentlessly pursue child predators and ensure they are brought to justice.”

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