David Barraclough caught a break when his victim, a 14-year old girl, wouldn't testify against him.
The repeat sex offender still got 20 years in federal prison Monday.
Barraclough, 32, of Buffalo, admitted meeting his underage victim on a social media site and exchanging sexually explicit photos with her as part of a deal that allowed him to plead guilty to a lesser charge of possession of child pornography.
This was his fifth conviction for a sexual offense and his third involving a minor.
In sentencing Barraclough to the maximum, U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo referred to his victim, now 16, and the reports that, when she would remind Barraclough that she was just a girl, he would respond by chiding her.
"You wouldn't let her be a kid," Vilardo told him. "There was direct and personal harm to a child. And the tactics you used made bad even worse."
As part of his plea deal, Barraclough agreed to be sentenced as if he had been convicted of the sexual exploitation of a minor.
"This is not the defendant's first time here," Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Catherine Baumgarten said in reference to his criminal history.
Barraclough, who broke down in court, said he was sorry and should have "known better," and his defense lawyer pointed to his long history of mental illness.
"It's a very sad story going back to when he was young," said Brian P. Comerford, an assistant federal public defender.
Barraclough's conviction is the result of an FBI investigation.