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Tennessee Man Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Charges in Albemarle - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Tennessee Man Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Charges in Albemarle

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A Tennessee man has admitted his guilt in a child porn case that started when an Albemarle County teen disappeared from her home.

Johnathan Messer avoided a trial Tuesday by pleaded guilty to three charges. His plea deal allows the victim to avoid testifying in court for a trial. The commonwealth's attorney says the girl - who was 16 at the time of the incident - is in counseling and making progress.

Messer, 24, pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing child porn and one count of using a computer to facilitate a sexual offense with a minor.

Prosecutors say in October 2013 Messer picked up the girl from her Albemarle County neighborhood and took her to a hotel.  Her parents reported her missing and the next day she returned home.

An investigation led police to Messer at a Hampton Roads Navy base where he was stationed. Police uncovered a series of sexually explicit email conversations and two photos of the teen on Messer's phone.

Messer could have faced up to 15 years in prison if this case went to trial. The plea agreement suggests he spend 24 to 30 months behind bars and pay the victim's family restitution for her counseling costs.

A judge is scheduled to sentence Messer on July 8.

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