A 29-year-old Billings man who admitted to collecting child pornography since he was in the eighth grade pleaded guilty to federal charges on Thursday.

Shane Jon Braaten pleaded guilty to one count of receipt of child porn and agreed to a forfeiture count in an indictment before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull.

Cebull asked Braaten how many images he thought he had.

"I don't know. There were a lot," Braaten answered.

An examination of Braaten's computers found thousands of images and movies of child porn he had received through the Internet for years, prosecutors said. The images included children who were under the age of 12 and engaged in sadistic or masochistic abuse or violence.

An investigation began in May 2009 when an FBI agent in Billings found that a computer in Billings had child porn videos available through a file sharing network. The agent downloaded images and a search warrant was carried out on Nov. 19, 2010, on Braaten's residence.

Braaten admitted he preferred young teen girls.

Braaten faces a minimum mandatory five years to 20 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine, along with the forfeiture of two laptop computers, a wireless router and CDs.

Cebull set sentencing for Oct. 14 and continued Braaten's release.

Contact Clair Johnson at cjohnson@billingsgazette.com or 657-1282.

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