A 34-year-old Augusta man pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to possessing child pornography.

Joshua Adam Harrison was arrested in October 2016. The complaint says the offense occurred from June 16 to Aug. 15, 2015, in Kennebec County.

He will be sentenced later after a pre-sentencing report is completed by the U.S. Probation Office. The maximum sentence for a conviction on the charge is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Harrison is represented by attorney Matthew Morgan, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Clark was the prosecutor at Thursday’s hearing.

According to records in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine, the investigation began after the state Computer Crimes Division Task Force learned that a nude image of a young boy had been sent to a computer account used by Harrison.

An investigation by Maine State Police Detective Christopher Tupper then located hundreds of images of prepubescent children on Harrison’s computer, the complaint says.

According to a news release sent Thursday from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, when the search warrant was being executed at Harrison’s home Aug. 13, 2015, “the defendant also admitted that he obtained child pornography by email and a messaging application and that he met people in online chat rooms to obtain child pornography.” One computer was seized in that search and a second computer of Harrison’s was seized at a local pawn shop.

An affidavit filed in court by Homeland Security Special Agent Gregory Kelly says, “Harrison admitted that if there were any images of children on his laptop, he used the images so that he wouldn’t do anything to an actual child.”

As a result of Harrison’s guilty plea, U.S. District Court John A. Woodcock issued a preliminary forfeiture order governing Harrison’s two computers.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit, and the Augusta Police Department.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams