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HAMMOND — A Valparaiso man entered into a plea agreement in U.S. District Court on Monday on a charge of child pornography.

Ryan Heck, 28, said in the plea agreement that he will plead guilty to a federal indictment charging him with receipt of child pornography.

The maximum penalties for the offense are a sentence of 15 to 40 years in prison, supervised release of 5 years to life and a fine of $250,000.

The agreement states that the U.S. Attorney shall recommended he be sentenced to the low end of the sentencing guideline range. It also states, however, that based on federal law, "my prior conviction for possession of child pornography requires the Court to impose no less than 15 years of incarceration."

In the plea agreement, Heck said that between February and March of this year, he regularly communicated by email and text message with a girl in Colorado who he believed was 16, but was only 14. He said he repeatedly asked the girl to send him inappropriate photos of her body and that he received more than 20 such photos.

He said at the time he was on probation from a sentence he had received after pleading guilty in Porter County in 2015 to a charge of receiving child pornography.

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Ed has been with The Times since January 2014. He previously covered government affairs for Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers in Florida. Prior to Scripps, he was with the Chicago Regional Bureau of Copley News Service.