Jonathan Garry Bopp, 36, was arrested in October 2017 after the New Zealand Child Pornography Task Force notified authorities in the U.S. about the series of images that had been shared online and were traced back to a computer address in Rome.
After entering guilty pleas to five counts of possessing or distributing images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, Bopp apologized.
"I would like to offer my apology to my family, my friends and the court," Bopp said during the sentencing hearing Wednesday afternoon. "It was deplorable behavior."
Bopp could have been sentenced to as much as 20 years in prison on each count.
Assistant District Attorney Kevin Salmon told Judge Billy Sparks that Bopp had shared five different images between March and May of 2017, and when one particular chat room was shut down, he switched to another. After the task force in New Zealand notified the Department of Homeland Security in the US, the GBI was called in to the case and executed search warrants at the Bopp home.
Salmon said Bopp acknowledged to the GBI he had been the person on the computer and that he preferred images of victims who were, "noticeably under the age of 18."
Salmon said each of the five victims who were depicted in the photos Bopp shared were known to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, prompting Sparks to ask if the victims had been notified of the hearing Wednesday.
"They are all over the world, judge," Salmon said.
Sparks said that it was his experience that such victims had "lost interest in (appearing in) courts all over the world and who could blame them."
When the GBI conducted a search of Bopp’s computer, they did not find any other pornographic images stored on the computer.
"He's been nothing but cooperative with everybody since the beginning," said defense attorney Bernard Brody. He pointed out Bopp was already in a sex offender rehabilitation program and would be again once he is released from prison after five years.
Sparks also ordered that Bopp spend 15 years on probation and pay a $2,500 fine.