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Sibley man convicted of child exploitation

SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- A Sibley, Iowa, man was convicted by a jury of sexual exploitation of a child after a three-day trial in federal court in Iowa's Northern District.

Michael Mayer, 40, allegedly persuaded a 14-year-old girl to send him sexually explicit photos and videos of herself between May and August 2008, communicating online, through phone calls and text messages.

He also sent the victim pictures and videos of himself. Images of the victim were found on Mayer's computer.

The week before trial, Mayer pleaded guilty to receiving and possessing child pornography.

Sentencing will be set after a presentence investigation report is prepared.

Mayer was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals after the verdict was returned and will remain in custody pending sentencing. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of up to 60 years imprisonment, $750,000 in fines and will be required to register as a sex offender.

The case was brought forward as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. It was investigated by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Osceola County Sheriff's Office and the Sioux County Sheriff's Office.