Austin, Minnesota, man sentenced to 20 years for distributing child pornography

An Austin, Minnesota, man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the distribution of child pornography.

According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, 53-year-old Phillip Arlan Koontz pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of child pornography on Jan. 22 and was sentenced Thursday afternoon to a sentence of 20 years in prison and 20 years of supervised release.

"The sexual exploitation of children is a heinous crime, one deserving of a lengthy prison sentence," acting Minnesota U.S. Attorney Anders Folk said. "Here in Minnesota we are fortunate to have dedicated federal, state, and local investigators who are committed to seeking justice for those who abuse and exploit innocent children."

"This repeat offender will spend the next 20 years behind bars," said Jamie Holt, acting special agent in charge of St. Paul’s office of Homeland Security Investigations. "Community safety is our top priority and hopefully this lengthy sentence will give peace of mind to his victims and their families. HSI special agents will continue to work with our Minnesota law enforcement partners, like the Austin police, to relentlessly pursue child predators and ensure they are brought to justice."

According to the guilty plea, Koontz began talking with an undercover federal agent posing as a 13-year-old girl in April 2018. Koontz sent the agent multiple images containing sexually explicit material involving minors and falsely represented these images as depicting Koontz’s daughters and friends.

Koontz also possessed 478 sexually explicit images depicting minors. He had a previous felony conviction out of Mower County for criminal sexual conduct in the second degree.