- Associated Press - Sunday, April 19, 2015

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) - A Tarpon Springs man has been sentenced to 40 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to coercing more than 100 girls to send him sexually explicit photos and videos while befriending them on Facebook.

The Tampa Tribune reports (https://bit.ly/1G1rppA) that Melvin Barber Bridgers III pleaded guilty in December to child pornography charges. He was sentenced Friday.

According to court records, about 129 victims have been identified out of thousands Bridgers attempted to contact, making this one of the largest online child “sextortion” cases prosecuted in the United States.

Officials said Bridgers then threatened to show the photos to the girls’ parents and share them online in order to obtain more photos and videos.

Bridgers moved to Tarpon Springs from Greenville, North Carolina, in 2013.

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