A 23-year-old man pleaded guilty last week to charges of sexual exploitation of children and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Alexander Marcelle Lee of Bowdon pleaded guilty to 15 counts of exploitation in connection with internet photos found on his electronic devices last July. On Sept. 20, Coweta Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Dustin Hightower handed down a sentence of 15 years in prison, to be followed by five years probation.

According to a release issued Monday by the circuit’s District Attorney’s office, Haralson County sheriff’s investigators received a tip in July 2020 from the state’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force that someone may be sending suspected child pornography over the internet.

The tip was then referred to Carroll County sheriff’s investigator Courtney Short, who determined that Lee might be a suspect in the case. When search warrants were obtained for Lee’s electronics and Facebook account, it was determined that 15 photos or videos of children engaging in sexual conduct had been sent from Lee’s Facebook account to another account.

The release said that after his arrest, Lee admitted to sending the child pornography, as well as viewing such images for over a year.

In the release, District Attorney Herb Cranford praised the sheriff’s office for its swift response in investigating the tip from the state task force.

“Although defendant Lee maintained that this was a victimless crime, every one of these videos and images involved a child victim of sexual abuse,” Cranford said. “The viewers of these images create a market for the images and incentivize their creation. Consequently, this office will seek justice for the victims of these crimes and prison sentences for those who possess child pornography.”