- Associated Press - Friday, November 20, 2020

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A retired Navy officer has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges.

Lt. Cdr. Ronald Zenga, a retired pilot who was stationed at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, pleaded guilty to coercion and distributing and possessing child pornography, U.S. Attorney Aaron L. Weisman said Thursday.

Zenga, 44, had previously pleaded not guilty to eight charges. He faces up to life in prison, and a sentencing hearing is scheduled in February.

Authorities say Zenga used a Russian website to communicate with a law enforcement agent in England, where the case started, to graphically describe an ongoing sexual encounter with a child.

Prosecutors say the charges stem from his behavior while actively serving in and following his retirement from the Navy in 2017.

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