KY man asked woman for explicit photos of teen, pleads guilty

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A Lexington man faces up to 30 years in prison after admitting he repeatedly tried to get a woman to send him sexually explicit photos of her 14-year-old daughter.

Zachary Albert Knight pleaded guilty in federal court in Lexington Thursday to a charge of attempting to produce child pornography.

The crime is punishable by 15 to 30 years in prison. The crime also carries an assessment of $5,000, and he could be fined and ordered to pay restitution as well.

Knight started asking the girl’s mother to send him explicit photos of the girl in April 2020. Knight had been the woman’s boss for several years, but she was living in Virginia when Knight contacted her.

They communicated over Facebook.

The mother sent Knight a number of photos of her daughter wearing clothes or bikinis, but Knight pushed her to send him nude photos, according to information in an affidavit by Jeffrey Tyler Chelf, an FBI task force officer.

The statement did not say the mother, who was not identified by name, ever sent nude photos to Knight.

However, the mother did allow Knight to communicate with the teen by text and video chat in what appeared to be an effort to groom her to take part in explicit activity online, according to the affidavit.

Knight and the girl’s mother also discussed allowing him to teach her sex education by watching him online, and allowed Knight to send a sex toy and lingerie to the girl, according to the affidavit.

Knight kept after the mother for months in 2020 and 2021, according to the court record.

The FBI identified Knight as a suspect through a separate investigation of a man in Virginia who had a child-pornography conviction.

That man was dating the mother of the 14-year-old girl, and when authorities talked to the mother about him, she said Knight had been asking her for nude photos of the teen.

Police tracked Knight through his Facebook account and arrested him in March. He has been in custody since.

U.S. District Judge Karen K. Caldwell scheduled Knight to be sentenced in September.

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