18-Year-Old Arrested on Multiple Counts of Child Pornography

At age 18, Zack Kuhl now faces some of the most serious child pornography charges Tuolomne County officials have ever handed down, and remains in custody at the county jail.

Tuolomne County sheriff's deputies arrested Kuhl for more than three dozen counts of criminal activity related to producing and distributing child pornography.

"The conduct in this case is egregious. This young man uses coercion when he targets these victims," said Laura Krieg, Tuolomne County District Attorney.

According to Krieg, there were at least eight victims, all minors, who claimed to be manipulated into committing sexual acts.

Kuhl now faces 11 counts of unlawful sex with a minor younger than 15, eight counts of possessing child pornography, eight counts of unlawful contact with a minor, one count for arranging to meet with a minor for sexual acts, and 11 counts of burglary for unlawfully entering the home of a minor for sex.

"This isn't a situation where this young man is engaged in a dating relationship with a female a year younger," Krieg said. "These are minors, some of which are more than three years younger than he is, where he is targeting them."

Krieg added that Kuhl would often make threats, sometimes to himself, to get young girls to go along with his agenda. Investigators found hundreds of pictures on his cell phone, and multiple videos that classify as child porn.

Investigators say even when Kuhl knew he was being investigated, he continued making those videos and taking lewd pictures.

FOX40 spoke with the mother of one of the victims off camera. Her daughter went to school with Kuhl at Sonora High School. She says her daughter was pressured to commit sexual acts on camera, now the girl and her mother both fear for the girl's future.

Parents of students at Sonora High School are in disbelief.

"I'm glad my girls are good -- they let me know what's going on. I'm not worried about them, but I worry about the rest of the students. They don't need to be jeopardized," Roger Stephens said.

It's unclear how many other victims went to Sonora High School, because, according to school officials, Kuhl left the school late in his junior year, and spent what would have been his senior year somewhere else.

Kuhl was booked into the county jail on $500,000 bond, and as of Friday evening, hasn't bailed out.