MASCOUTAH, Ill. — A man prosecutors called a "prolific sextortionist" will spend the next 35 years in prison after years of blackmailing girls over the internet.

Joshua P. Breckel, 21, was sentenced Thursday to 35 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Staci M. Yandle after pleading guilty.

A press release said Breckel used computers, phones, social media and messaging apps to persuade girls from the United States and other countries to send him nude photos. Investigators said he would feign romantic interest, offer them money or threaten them.

The release said he would get the girls to send him photos over Snapchat and use a screen-recording program to save the images. He would then threaten to send the images to the girls' friends and family unless they sent more photos and videos to him.

The release also said Breckel threatened to kill his youngest victim — a 10-year-old girl from Ohio — if she didn't send him more photos.

The charges included counts of online extortion and production of child pornography. After he serves his sentence, he will be supervised for the rest of his life.

The case was part of Project Safe Childhood, a Department of Justice initiative launched in 2006 to fight child exploitation. 

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