The sex was legal. The photos were not. Now ex-cop is going to federal prison.

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Photo Source: FBI

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A former Missouri state trooper was sentenced in federal court today for transmitting sexually explicit photos of a teenage victim.

Justin Watson, 47, of Mountain View, Mo., was sentenced to seven years in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced Watson to 10 years of supervised release following incarceration.

Watson was employed as a trooper with the Missouri State Highway Patrol from July 1996 until he was dismissed in October 2017. He also worked as a high school baseball umpire in the Mountain View-Birch Tree School District.

Under Missouri law, Watson was not in legal trouble when he had sex with a 17-year-old boy—but when he took photos of the incident, he violated child porn laws.

On May 29, 2018, Watson pleaded guilty to receiving and distributing child pornography. Watson admitted he took several sexually explicit photos of a 17-year-old juvenile. The photographs were taken using the victim’s iPhone; Watson then transmitted the images of child pornography to his own cell phone.

Watson also has been charged in Howell County Circuit Court with four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of sexual contact with a student.

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