Author:Becky JacobsPost-Tribune

Kansas man accused of soliciting explicit photos from an underage Lake County girl and driving her to meet two men in Ohio pleaded guilty Thursday.

Ian Smith, 20, was one of three men arrested after a 14-year-old girl went missing at the end of April from her home in unincorporated Lake County between Schererville and Griffith, police said.

Two Cincinnati men, Eric Ho, 25, and Bryan Otero, 27, were each indicted in an Ohio federal court in May with conspiracy to sex traffic children and conspiracy to produce child pornography, court records show.

Smith was indicted in May in a federal court in Kansas on charges of sexual exploitation of a child – production of child pornography, travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and possession of child pornography, according to court records.

After striking a plea deal with the government, Smith pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of production of child pornography, the deal states.

Smith began talking with the 14-year-old girl in August 2016 on social media sites including Kik, Chat-Tango and Skype, according to the plea deal.

Over Skype, Smith “would demand the minor perform sex acts and made arrangements to meet for further sexual activity,” the deal states. At the time, Smith was in Kansas and the minor was in Indiana, court records show.

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