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POCATELLO, Idaho – A 31-year-old Rigby man pleaded guilty Tuesday to the sexual exploitation of a child, according to U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis.

Joseph Lavern Harris was indicted by a federal grand jury on March 27, 2018. He will be sentenced on June 18 at the federal courthouse in Pocatello. The charge of sexual exploitation of a minor is punishable by 15 to 30 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and a term of supervised release of five years to life.

A news release from Davis's office said that according to court records, on Feb. 26, 2018, state investigators responded to allegations of child abuse at a residence in Jefferson County, where Harris resided.

A subsequent investigation discovered that Harris had produced child pornography using a minor child. Investigators obtained a search warrant for Harris’s electronic devices and discovered images of the sexual abuse taken on Harris’s phone. In court, Harris admitted that he used, persuaded, and coerced the minor child to take part in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual depictions of such conduct.

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations in Idaho Falls and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.