A Hancock County man who had sexually explicit photos and videos of children on his laptop computer when he sent it last year to an Ellsworth repair shop pleaded guilty Monday to a federal charge of possession of child pornography.

John Tapley, 58, of Sedgwick pleaded guilty to the felony charge in U.S. District Court in Bangor before Judge John A. Woodcock Jr., who ordered him to remain in federal custody for a sentencing date that has yet to be scheduled.

Tapley had been scheduled to stand trial on the charge on Jan. 7 before he agreed to change his plea.

Tapley brought his Acer laptop to the computer repair shop on Jan. 21, 2013, according to a prosecution document filed with the court last week.

“While the technician was working on the defendant’s laptop computer, he found sexually suggestive images of prepubescent girls and reported it to the police,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCormack said in the court document.

Police executed a search warrant for the laptop, allowing computer experts at the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit to seize it for further examination. They found multiple pornographic images and videos of children and evidence that Tapley sent some of those images to another man using online chat forums, the document says.

“In a Gigatribe chat from April of 2012, the defendant noted that he likes girls between the ages of 5-12 and ‘some babys too,’ ” McCormack wrote.

At sentencing, Tapley faces between 10 and 20 years in prison and a fine of as much as $250,000.

Tapley has two prior convictions for unlawful sexual conduct. As a registered sex offender, he faces an enhanced prison sentence, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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