SAR


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Phil Drechsler, 61, of Santa Clarita, who worked for NBC4 until he departed in February 2023, shared more than 100 videos, images and other types of files depicting child pornography between August 2020 and June 2021, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

He pleaded guilty in downtown Los Angeles to a single count of distribution of child pornography. Sentencing was set for Oct. 7.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment last year on three counts of distribution of child pornography. The charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years imprisonment with a possible maximum of up to 20 years, prosecutors noted.

Drechsler's plea agreement, filed in Los Angeles federal court, states that in exchange for his plea, prosecutors will recommend that he be sentenced to a term of imprisonment no higher than the statutory minimum for the charge.

An affidavit filed with a criminal complaint in April 2023 states that Drechsler, using the alias "Karen Flores," was a member of an online community of people who regularly sent and received child pornography via a group chat.

Authorities executing a search warrant at Drechsler's home found what appeared to be child sexual abuse material in the recently deleted photo album folder of his cell phone, according to the affidavit signed by FBI Special Agent Chelsea Malone.

Drechsler tweeted in February 2023 that he had been laid off from NBC4. He had apparently worked at the station for 11 years.

"Short story: I was offered a buyout, turned it down, was laid off with all the provisions of the buyout," he tweeted. "I'll skip the long story."

He also posted: "I still feel young. Let's see what the next chapter brings."