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Mississippi man pleads guilty in child exploitation case

By The Associated Press

This article was published April 19, 2014 at 2:17 p.m.

— An Ocean Springs man has pleaded guilty to four counts of child exploitation for having images of children engaged in sex acts on computers at his father's home.

Court records show 27-year-old Francis Austyn Hawkins also pleaded guilty this month to additional charges of credit card fraud and receiving stolen property -- a coin collection.

Hawkins entered the plea before Circuit Judge Dale Harkey, The Sun Herald reported. Sentencing was set for May 23.

Ocean Springs police arrested Hawkins in January 2011 at a home in east Ocean Springs, where he lived with his father.

At the home, authorities said they seized "several downloads of child pornography as well as a large amount of computer hardware and software."

A Jackson County grand jury indicted him on five child exploitation charges. In exchange for his plea, the state dropped one of the charges.

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