A federal judge has sentenced a Key West-based U.S. Coast Guardsman to almost 20 years in prison after he pleaded guilty in December to producing child pornography.
Of the three child-porn counts with which a grand jury charged Drew Alexander Young, 24, in August, he pleaded guilty to convincing a 13-year-old girl, who was up front about her age, to send him lewd photographs of herself to his cell phone.
He pleaded not guilty to all three counts in September but changed his plea on Dec. 7. He was facing a maximum of 70 years in prison.
U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez sentenced Young on April 12 to 19 years and six months. Young, who was a fireman in the Coast Guard, was administratively discharged in the months after his August indictment. He enlisted in 2011.
In addition to the two decades in federal lockup, Young must serve 10 years probation upon release and abide by a number of conditions, including staying away from children in his private life and at work, undergoing sex offender treatment and agreeing to having restricted computer access.
The child pornography case was brought by Coast Guard Investigative Service agents when they were looking into sexual harassment allegations against Young in May 2015. A female Coast Guard colleague said Young assaulted her.
Agents seized Young's cellphone on May 13 looking for messages sent to the alleged victim, including those that contained sexual content or threats.
During the search, agents found the text message app Kik Messenger, which contained chats between Young and girls under 18 years old. Most of the girls were between 14 and 16.
Online, Young was known to his victims as "dyshizz1" and "Drew Y."
Agents obtained a second search warrant to look further into Young's phone and found 30 conversations with girls, some as young as 13 years old, according to court papers. In these conversations, agents say Young directed the girls to take photos of their genitals.
Young made six attempts to meet with the girls, but it doesn't appear that any of them took him up on the offer, agents said. In one of these requests, Young told a 13-year-old girl that he would take her virginity, according to the detention order. In another thread, Young proposed anal sex with another 13-year-old girl.
Some of these girls also sent photos of them exposing themselves to Young, Coast Guard investigators say.
Young's phone also had a collection of "explicit videos of underage girls, some as young as 8 years old," Judge Lurana Snow wrote in a September detention order.