A Sanford man pleaded guilty Wednesday to sexually exploiting children and distributing child pornography. He faces up to 50 years in prison.

Between March 2020 and June 2022, Joseph Zoll, 63, exchanged thousands of messages with a woman in the Philippines who recorded and live-streamed herself sexually abusing very young children, according to court records.

An affidavit from a Homeland Security agent details the investigation into Zoll, who faces a minimum penalty of 15 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

Skype turned over nearly 12,000 chat exchanges between a woman suspected of running a child sex trafficking ring in the Philippines and another user who went by “jzoll2167” – later identified as Zoll. Over the course of two years, they swapped more than 165 video and image files, many of which depict the abuse of young girls.

A chat log from July 19, 2020, suggests Zoll was directing the woman to abuse a young girl over a live stream, the affidavit states. Investigators said Zoll made dozens of payments to the trafficker and to other accounts in the Philippines.

Prosecutors agreed to drop two additional charges for receipt of child pornography and coercion and enticement of a minor as part of the plea agreement, according to court records.

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