An Augusta man was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years — the maximum sentence available — in federal prison for having hundreds of pornographic images of prepubescent children on his computer.

Joshua Harrison, 35, was arrested in October 2016 in Augusta on a charge of possessing child pornography June 16 to Aug. 15, 2015, in Kennebec County. He pleaded guilty to the charge last December.

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 Tuesday 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.

Harrison’s attorney, Matthew Morgan, asked the judge to impose a six-year sentence, saying Harrison would be vulnerable in jail because of his multiple mental health diagnoses — post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline bi-polar, depression, and anxiety — and prior sexual victimization.

Morgan’s written filing also indicates Harrison was in the Maine Youth Center at one time for a sex offense.

The news release says U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit and the Augusta Police Department participated in the investigation.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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Twitter: @betadams