Man sentenced to 60 years on 18 child pornography counts

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota man accused of coercing hundreds of children into producing and electronically sharing sexually explicit images has been sentenced to 60 years in prison.

Thirty-five-year-old Brandon Bjornstad, of Neche, pleaded guilty in February to 18 counts, including charges of sexual exploitation of minors and extortion. Authorities say he shared pornographic photos and videos with children, as well as other men who shared his sexual interest in minors.

U.S. District Judge Peter Welte also ordered Bjornstad to pay more than $3,600 to the victims and serve a lifetime of supervised release. Bjornstad's attorney asked for a term of 20 years and supervised release for life.

U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley says the case shows the dangers "that lurk just a key stroke away on so many media social media platforms."