A Franklin County man agreed to serve three years in prison after pleading guilty to dozens of counts related to soliciting juveniles for sex.

Michael Scott Phillips

Michael Scott Phillips

Michael Scott Phillips, 21, was indicted in February on 44 counts following an investigation by Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s Cyber Crimes Unit.

On Friday in Franklin Circuit Court, Phillips pleaded guilty to 42 of those charges: 17 counts of possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor, 12 counts of unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual activity and four counts of distribution of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor, all Class D felonies, and nine counts of distribution of obscene matter, a Class B misdemeanor. 

Two counts of promoting a sexual performance by a minor younger than 16, a Class C felony, were dismissed as part of a plea agreement, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Zack Becker said.

According to the plea agreement, Phillips used Snapchat to communicate with a number of underage females for sexual purposes. The agreement cited four female juveniles whom he contacted in April and May 2019. One of the girls he reportedly communicated with on nine occasions and sent her three explicit images involving juveniles, including the victim, and sent her nine other “obscene images.”

On May 23, 2019, law enforcement officials seized Phillips’ cellphone and found 17 images of child pornography. During an interview, Phillips reportedly admitted to contacting the girls and knowing it was against the law.

In an interview with police, Phillips said, “I know what I’ve done; I just don’t want to go to jail,” according to the plea agreement.

The plea agreement calls for Phillips to serve three years for each count of possession, unlawful use and distribution of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor in addition to 90 days for each count of distribution of obscene matter. 

All the charges will run concurrently for a total of three years.

Phillips is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 24 in Franklin Circuit Court. He remains in the Franklin County Regional Jail on a $250,000 bond.

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