MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A former youth pastor from Cottage Grove is sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for distribution of child pornography.

William Helker, 47, pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of child pornography in March. A U.S. District Court judge sentenced Helker to 150 months in prison last week, along with 15 years of supervised release.

(credit: Pine County)

When the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension executed a search warrant on Helker’s phone and laptop in October, investigators discovered thousands of images and videos of child pornography, which he admitted to.

In an interview with police, Helker said he took pictures of children at All Saints Lutheran Church events and edited them onto pornographic images.