COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A former television weatherman accused of downloading pornographic images depicting children was sentenced Thursday to four to six years in prison.

Mike Davis' sentence followed his guilty pleas on four counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor. Authorities have said he downloaded and emailed the material to himself over a period of about seven years.

Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Karen Held Phipps called the facts of the case "horrendous," The Columbus Dispatch reported.

"These are victims who were groomed and abused for years to get them to participate in these acts," she said in imposing the sentence. "You chose to support an industry that re-victimized these children over and over for years."

Davis, whose sentencing had been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, appeared in court wearing a face mask.

Davis, 60, faced up to 29 1/2 years in prison. Besides the prison sentence, he will have to register as a sex offender for the next 25 years.

Davis' lawyer had asked that his client be sent to a therapy program rather than prison. In court filings, defense attorney Terry Sherman argued that Davis used pornography in an attempt to self-medicate after suffering for years with various mental health issues, including severe depression and anxiety.

Davis was fired from WBNS-TV in Columbus after his arrest in September. He had worked there for more than three decades.

The Franklin County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force began investigating after receiving a tip in August from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The center said it had traced nearly 16,000 images of child pornography to a central Ohio email address. Detectives confirmed that the email account belonged to Davis.

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