A 33-year-old Muscatine County man was sentenced Friday, April 7, to 20 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to attempted sexual exploitation of a child, according to a news release from the U. S. Attorney’s Office – Southern District of Iowa.

According to court documents, from February 2022 to September 2022, David Franklin Duncan III used cell phones and Facebook to communicate with a person he believed to be a 15-year-old. During the conversations, Duncan attempted to “employ, use, persuade, entice, or coerce” the person he believed to be a child to capture and send Duncan images and videos of the child engaged in sexually explicit conduct, to travel to Duncan’s location or meet him at an agreed location for the purpose of engaging in sexually explicit conduct, and to engage in “commercial sex acts.”

Duncan also sent images and videos of his private parts, the release says, and “Unbeknownst to Duncan, the person he was communicating with was an undercover law enforcement officer.”

After his prison term, Duncan must also serve a 10-year term of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system, according to the release.

U. S. Attorney Richard D. Westphal of the Southern District of Iowa made the announcement. The Altoona Police Department, in conjunction with the Iowa Crimes Against Children Task Force, investigated the case. Assistant U. S. Attorney Kyle Essley prosecuted the case,the release says.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit here.