Admitting he downloaded thousands of child pornography images to his computer, Jeffrey Wade Larson pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges of receiving child porn.

Appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby, Larson, 46, said he downloaded images to his hard drive, deleted them and repeated the process.

Even though he deleted the images, Larson told the judge that he knows they were still on his computer and that they could be found through a forensic analysis.

Larson admitted to one receipt count and agreed to a forfeiture allegation as charged in an information.

Prosecutor Marcia Hurd said law enforcement officers investigating child porn being shared via the Internet identified Larson in January as having images available. An undercover agent downloaded a number of child porn images shared by Larson, she said.

Investigators executed a search warrant at his residence on Jan. 18 and seized Larson's computer equipment.

Hurd said Larson told investigators how he used a file-sharing program to receive and possess thousands of child porn images and videos and that he had been doing it for a long time.

An analysis of Larson’s computer found images that he had received for years and they included prepubescent children and children engaged in sadistic or masochistic abuse, which can enhance a sentencing guideline, Hurd said.

Larson also agreed to forfeit a laptop and hard drive, three external hard drives and other storage devices.

Ostby said she will recommend that Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull accept Larson’s plea. Cebull will set a sentencing date and sentence Larson.

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Federal court and county reporter for The Billings Gazette.