A lieutenant colonel formerly assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency is set to spend two decades in prison for goading six underage girls into sending him illicit photos and videos while using his government laptop.

Lt. Col. Steven Jon Frederiksen, 42, was sentenced to 240 months in prison in Virginia on Tuesday, according to a Justice Department release, following an August plea agreement in which he pleaded guilty to one count of producing child pornography and one count of attempted coercion and enticement of a minor.

The West Point graduate admitted to using messaging apps like Kik to communicate with girls ages 14 to 17, asking them to send pornographic pictures and video clips. He also exchanged hardcore video child pornography with a person using the name "Sam Smith" online.

The original indictment, handed down in April, charged the officer with three counts of production of child pornography, two counts of coercing a minor, two counts of distributing child pornography and one count of receiving it between September and November 2015.

A year ago, a tipster told the local Criminal Investigation Command officer at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, that Frederiksen had been viewing suspected child pornography using his work computer, according to court documents.

DIA officials began monitoring his computer activity and found that he had been using social media and chat apps to search for and communicate with underage girls, then storing the images they sent him in Google Drive folders with names like "Claire" and "Cassy."

Frederiksen, an engineering officer, joined the Army in 1995 and has served in the Washington, D.C., area since 2003.

He has has been in jail since his March arrest, according to court records. His mother, wife, son and daughter wrote letters to the sentencing judge on his behalf in an effort to ease his potential life sentence for his crimes.

"Throughout his life, Steve has basically been a good Christian person helping, serving, teaching and living where and when needed," his mother, Victoria Frederiksen, wrote.

Frederiksen has volunteered as a Boy Scout leader and church youth leader, his family members wrote.

"When looking at his past influence on others, his positive attitude, loving nature, and when looking at his children and how he has raised them, almost no one sees a person that can commit the crimes which he has plead guilty to," his son wrote.

Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.

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