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Fargo man gets 30 years in child porn case

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FARGO — A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced a Fargo man to 30 years in prison for sexually molesting and taking pornographic videos and photos of girls ages 2 to 6.

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Victims’ family members, the prosecutor and even U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Erickson said they wanted a harsher sentence for Dustin Muscha, 33, who faced up to 80 years in prison for two counts of sexual exploitation of minors and two counts of possession of materials involving the sexual exploitation of minors.

But the prospect of dragging victims and their families through a trial, among other complicating factors, led to a plea deal after Muscha pleaded guilty in June.

Muscha was arrested in October 2012 after investigators determined the cellphone — found at a Fargodome concert a month earlier and turned in at a Sprint store — belonged to Muscha.

His phone and other electronics in Muscha’s storage unit had more than 500 pornographic photos and 13 videos taken over the last decade. The four victims were in his care at the time the images were recorded.

After serving his sentence, Muscha will spend the rest of his life on supervised release with more than a dozen strict conditions.

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