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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – A Minnesota man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal charges of sexually abusing two boys on Kadena Air Base over a decade ago, according to the Department of Justice and The Associated Press.

Joshua Gardner, 29, was arrested late last month after a federal grand jury indictment and made his first appearances in Minneapolis federal court this week, the department said.

During a detention hearing Tuesday, Gardner pleaded not guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual abuse and two counts of abusive sexual contact of a child, which carry a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the AP and a Department of Justice news release.

The alleged crimes were committed on two boys under the age of 12 while Gardner was living on Okinawa between 1997 and 2002, the department said. No additional details of the case were released.

It was not immediately clear Wednesday whether Gardner was involved with the U.S. military while living on the island. Kadena public affairs officials were unable to answer a query on the subject on Wednesday afternoon.

The case was brought as part of a national effort to crack down on child abuse related to the Internet, including child pornography, online enticement, child sex tourism and commercial sexual exploitation, according to the Department of Justice.

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