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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A Minnesota man has admitted to sexually abusing two boys on Kadena Air Base more than a decade ago following a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, according to the Department of Justice.

Joshua Gardner, 29, originally told authorities he was innocent after being arrested on a grand jury indictment in September, but this month pleaded guilty to abusive sexual contact with the boys, who were both younger than 12 years old at the time of the abuse, the department announced Thursday.

The plea agreement reduced his potential punishment from the possibility of life in prison and a $250,000 fine to a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the agency said. A sentencing date has not yet been set in the case.

Gardner committed the abuse while he was living on Okinawa between 1997 and 2002, the department said. No additional details of the case were released.

Kadena Air Base officials declined to comment on whether Gardner or the victims were involved with the U.S. military and referred all questions to the Department of Justice, which could not be immediately reached Monday afternoon.

The case was investigated by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It was brought to light 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.

From staff reports

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