JBLM soldier pleads guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- A Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of sexual exploitation of a minor and extortion.

Detectives from the Washington State Patrol Missing and Exploited Children's Task Force said David Michael Ford, 24, used Facebook to meet teenage girls, ranging in age from 15- to 17-years old. Using money, gifts and fear tactics, Ford allegedly convinced the girls to send him pornographic pictures and videos of themselves.

"I'm not going to get into the details of how revealing they were, but they do rise to what we believe are child pornography," WSP Lt. Ron Mead said in May. "You have underage children in various states of undress."

After getting the photos, Ford allegedly wanted more and threatened to post the images online if the girls weren't forthcoming. That's when one of the girls called police, said the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Division.

Evidence found on Ford's computer allegedly showed dozens of other potential victims who detectives have yet to identify.

Ford was arrested in September just after he and the rest of the 3rd Stryker Brigade returned from a 10-month deployment in Afghanistan.

Sentencing will be held on Sept. 13. In the meantime, Ford remains held in the Pierce County Jail on $500,000 bail