Man sentenced 20 years in prison for sexually exploiting school girls online

Joshua Henry Punt has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually exploiting school girls online.

Punt, 39, of Ridgefield, Washington, pleaded guilty in April to posing as a teen and using social media services  and Kik to coerce girls into sending him explicit images.

Once he had explicit images of his victims, Punt would use them to pressure the girls aged 12-16 into sending more, by threatening to show the images publicly if they didn’t comply.

“This predatory defendant infiltrated our homes,” said acting US Attorney Gorman. “We warn our children about the ‘dangerous stranger’ they might encounter on the street – we must be equally vigilant about the ones who are lurking online.”

The eight child victims hail from New York, Arkansas, California, Texas, Nevada, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

At Monday’s sentencing, US District Judge Benjamin H Settle said: “There are no words to express how serious this crime is.  The weight of the damage will go on for scores of decades – rippling through lives …

“You could see the pain in those girls, and you continued to do it – to eight precious, innocent young girls – you tortured them.”

Punt set up fake profiles online, using images of male teenagers from YouTube. Victims were pressured into sending the photos, which would supposedly disappear or the sender would be notified if an attempt was made to copy it. To get around this, Punt copied the content on a separate phone, without his victims’ knowledge or consent.

At the sentencing, a mother of one of the victims said of her daughter. “She met a monster disguised as a boy, and her life will be changed forever … She now knows what evil looks like.”

The FBI has also identified Punt as the administrator of a child pornography distribution group on Kik.

After his sentence, Punt will be on supervised release and will be required to register as a sex offender.

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