GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A former Montana sheriff’s deputy has pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child.

The Great Falls Tribune reports 52-year-old Virgil Allen Wolfe entered his plea May 17. He faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years up to 30 years in federal prison.

His trial had been scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

Wolfe was arrested in February on 80 state charges after a 17-year-old girl reported Wolfe had been molesting her since she was 6 years old, including taking photographs of her. Federal prosecutors later took over the case.

Wolfe was a sheriff’s deputy in Lewis and Clark County from 1999 to 2008 until then-Sheriff Cheryl Leidle fired him for unrelated reasons.

___

Information from: Great Falls Tribune, http://www.greatfallstribune.com