A federal employee from Waterville pleaded guilty Friday to charges that he accessed child pornography from his work computer.

Terrence Talbot, 56, who worked for the U.S. Geological Survey’s New England Water Science Center in Augusta, used his government computer last year to search for and obtain images of children being sexually abused, according to court records. He also stored downloaded images and video files on a USB drive.

Talbot faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He will be sentenced at a later date.

Talbot admitted to investigators with the U.S. Department of the Interior in November that he used his computer to obtain the images. The department’s Office of the Inspector General was first alerted that someone was using work technology to search for pornographic materials in July, according to the complaint authored by Special Agent Nefertiti Berhane.

Investigators identified the computer as the one assigned to Talbot, Berhane wrote. All computers are issued with a warning: “by logging into this agency computer system, you acknowledge and consent to the monitoring of this system. Evidence of your use, authorized or unauthorized, collected during monitoring may be used for civil, criminal, administrative or other adverse action.”

Talbot met with investigators on Nov. 17 at the Waterville Public Library and later at his workplace in Augusta. After telling them he was accessing child pornography on his work computer, Berhane wrote, Talbot also voluntarily gave investigators a USB drive of images saved from the computer. Berhane said the images were of underage girls.

Neither the New England Water Science Center nor Talbot’s attorney, Brad Grant, responded to calls and emails when Talbot was charged in December.

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