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A Springettsbury Township "brony" is now locked up, awaiting his sentencing in federal court for possessing child pornography — some of it violent and sadistic.

A jury in Harrisburg's federal court on Wednesday, Dec. 6, convicted Robert E. Miller III, 34, of the 3400 block of Eastern Boulevard, of possessing images depicting the sexual exploitation of young children and receiving visual representations depicting the sexual abuse of children.

After the verdict, presiding U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III ordered Miller be taken into custody until his sentencing hearing, according to federal court records.

Miller's sentencing date has not yet been set. Jones set a pre-sentence conference for 10 a.m. March 23, according to court records.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Daryl Ford Bloom said the "visual representations" offense carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence, but that the standard federal sentencing guidelines for the child-porn possession charge indicate Miller could receive a much longer sentence.

My Little Pony fan: Evidence presented during Miller's trial indicates he's what's known as a "brony," according to Bloom, who prosecuted Miller. Bronies are adult men — and some adult women — who are fans of the My Little Pony franchise.

Northern York County Regional Police Detective Mark Baker filed charges in York County Court in June 2016 after finding on Miller's computers foreign-based videos depicting adults committing sexual abuse on toddlers and prepubescent girls, according to court documents.

Baker is a member of the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, which is why he was part of the investigation, according to Northern Regional Lt. David Lash.

Miller's federal indictment states some of the videos depicted "sadistic abuse" of toddlers and prepubescent girls.

Northern Regional Police and FBI agents found hundreds of videos of sexual abuse of children, including videos that feature sodomy, bondage, violent rape and forcible penetration with objects, according to Dawn Mayko, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Bloom said some of the images and videos showed children being sexually assaulted.

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Anime videos: The most violent, sadistic videos were anime, he said.

Bloom said those images shouldn't be dismissed as simply cartoons.

"I had very experienced FBI agents — who are used to dealing with this kind of material — who were horrified," he said. "And they've seen a lot of stuff. It's very graphic."

Bloom said his office and the Child Exploitation Task Force are "ever vigilant" about going after those who exploit children.

Miller's federal public defender, Thomas Thornton, said Miller is facing somewhere between five and 10 years in prison.

Thornton said they plan to appeal the verdict.

Miller's federal case stemmed from the charges Detective Baker initially filed in York County Court. Miller's York County case is expected to be dismissed because the matter was handled in federal court, according to Miller's York County public defender, Erin Thompson.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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