A Kennebec County man who downloaded hundreds of sexually explicit images and videos of children pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Bangor to a charge of possession of child pornography.

Darrin Cates, 46, of Winslow, was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshal Service after changing his plea before Judge John A. Woodcock Jr.

Cates was first arrested by members of the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit after they executed a search warrant at his Winslow home on Jan. 9 and he admitted to amassing a large collection of child pornography from the Internet, according to a prosecution document filed in court.

Police seized from Cates’ home a computer hard drive and other electronic devices, on which they found 826 images and 298 movies of child pornography, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jody Mullis wrote in the prosecution document.

“The defendant stated that his primary interest was females between the ages of 8 and 12. He admitted, however, that officers would find files with girls as young as babies on the computer. The defendant admitted that no one else at the residence possessed or viewed child pornography except for him,” Mullis wrote.

Cates lives at the residence with his wife and daughters, but he was home alone at the time of his initial arrest in January, according to court records.

Cates was arrested again on Aug. 18 after authorities decided to prosecute him federally instead of in state courts and obtained an indictment against him. After his federal arrest, he was jailed for six days before he was freed on an unsecured bond of $10,000.

Cates faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. His sentencing date was not immediately available.

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

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