04:09 GMT28 February 2020
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    A 48-year-old US Air Force colonel was sentenced to half a decade in prison Friday on child pornography charges.

    Col. Mark Visconi pleaded guilty in October to receiving child pornography, admitting that he downloaded pornographic media of underage girls and using his phone to take hundreds of inappropriate photos of photos of girls. The colonel used a router that hid his identity while viewing illegal pornographic material on the dark web.

    According to USA Today, Visconi, the chief of the Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force at the Pentagon, was sentenced Friday to five years in prison and 15 years of supervised release.

    “The defendant downloaded and viewed videos that were inherently sadistic," federal prosecutors said in a filing requesting that Visconi receive an eight-year prison sentence, USA Today reported.

    Visconi’s family sent letters to US District Judge T.S. Ellis requested that Visconi receive a lesser sentence because he was sexually abused as a child and did not obtain counseling due to his military career. His former wife also pleaded for lenience so Visconi would be able to help take care of their children.

    The colonel was next in line to lead the 11th Air Wing unit stationed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. The Air Force has confirmed that Visconi will be removed from the service following his sentencing. His security clearance was suspended as soon as the Air Force was notified by law enforcement of his criminal activities.

    "If approved, this will result in the loss of Col. Visconi’s ability to apply for retirement or to receive any other benefit afforded for honorable service,” Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek is quoted as telling USA Today.

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