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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Alaska

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Michigan Man sentenced to over 10 years in prison for distributing Child Pornography

Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that a Michigan man was sentenced in federal court in Anchorage for distributing child pornography.

Mark Harry Smith, 41, from Saginaw, Michigan, was sentenced Friday, September 27, 2013, by U.S. District Court Judge Sharron Gleason, to 126 months in prison.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle G. French, Smith possessed and exchanged via email accounts hundreds of videos and images depicting children being sexually abused, including infants and toddlers.  Smith’s collection reflected the international scope of child sex abuse that feeds the demand created by Smith and others who collect and trade child pornography – identified victims were abused in Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, the Republic of Moldova, the Ukraine, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, Brazil, Paraguay, Russia, Ireland, Norway, and the United States (28 states).

At Smith’s sentencing, Judge Gleason noted the seriousness of the offenses, the ongoing harm to the victimized children, and the need to protect the public from this kind of conduct.  After serving his 126 months in prison, Judge Gleason ordered Smith to serve 15 years of supervised release, perform 600 hours of community service, and be required to comply with special conditions, including participating in sex offender assessment and treatment, and registering as a sex offender.

U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler stated that “The possession, receipt, transportation, and distribution of child pornography perpetuates the harm to victims depicted in the images, validates and normalizes the sexual exploitation of children, and fuels a market, thereby leading to further production of images.  “Smith’s participation in email child pornography groups, for example, involves membership and informal communications which inherently validate, normalize, and encourage child sex sexual abuse by other individuals.”

AUSA Kyle French added that “Despite tremendous effort expended across numerous fronts, in the age of the Internet, we are losing the war to protect children from sexual exploitation.  The volume and market for child pornography continues to exponentially grow while its victims are becoming younger and more sadistically abused.  It is becoming common to discover child pornography collections which include videos and images of infants and toddlers being sexually abused.”

Every Internet user can help combat the problem by choosing to report child pornography related links, emails, media, and other materials.  Most important, by simply taking the time to report, you may rescue a child from ongoing sexual abuse.  If you encounter child pornography online, you can report its location to your Internet service provider, local or state law enforcement, the FBI or Department of Homeland Security office, or online via the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) website at cybertipline.com.  NCMEC will forward your report to the appropriate investigative agency for follow-up.

This case was initiated as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse which was launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.  Led by United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood combines federal, state and local resources to better identify, apprehend and prosecute individuals, who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Ms. Loeffler commends Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations for the investigation of this case.

Updated January 29, 2015