A Westbrook man was sentenced Monday to nine years in federal prison and five years of supervised released for his role in transporting child pornography and transmitting an “extortionate threat.”

Michael Van Eekhout, 51, was sentenced in federal court in Portland by U.S. District Judge Jon D. Levy, U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II said.

Van Eekhout pleaded guilty to the charges on Jan. 21.

According to court records, in late 2011 Van Eekhout posed online under an assumed name and persuaded a woman to send him nude photographs of herself. He then threatened to disseminate those photographs online unless she provided him with additional nude photos of herself. When she complied, Van Eekhout posted the photos and threatened to post more unless she provided even more photos.

In June 2014, Van Eekhout, who was now posing as the woman he extorted, sent an undercover federal agent a digital photograph of a naked, prepubescent girl. In July 2015, agents obtained a warrant to search his Westbrook home. During the search, Van Eekhout admitted that he had sent the photograph of the child to the federal agent and that he had pretended to be the woman.

“Child predators are finding more and more that anonymity in their online activities is a false notion,” said Bruce Foucart, special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations. “Homeland Security Investigations will continue to use our unique authorities and expertise to find these predators despite their best efforts to hide their true identities.”

The case was investigated as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.