Former School Counselor Sentenced to Prison for 30 Years for Sexually Exploiting Minors
BOISE — U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced that Mark Alan Saltzer, 46, of Boise, Idaho, was sentenced today in United States District Court to 360 months in prison, with credit for time served. Saltzer pleaded guilty in July 2013 to sexual exploitation of children by producing sexually explicit images of minors. In his plea agreement, Saltzer admitted producing sexually explicit videos of 11 different minors between April 2006 and April 2012. Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill also ordered Saltzer to be on supervised release for 20 years and pay a $10,000 fine. Prior to sentencing, Saltzer paid $50,000 in lieu of forfeiting his home, where the offense occurred.
Saltzer was arrested on August 17, 2012, at his home after federal investigators served a search warrant. Two minor boys, who were not related to Saltzer, were at the residence at the time. According to the plea agreement, Saltzer admitted to repeatedly sexually molesting one of the youths at his home beginning in the summer of 2012. It was disclosed during the sentencing proceedings that Saltzer was aware that the youth was a previous victim of sexual abuse and was at high risk to become victimized again. Saltzer was a counselor at Meridian Middle School when he met the youth. During the hearing it was also disclosed that Saltzer admitted to having five previous hands-on victims with ages ranging from 13 to 17 years, the first occurring when Saltzer was 21. Saltzer previously worked as a counselor in the Marsing and Caldwell school districts, and also as a counselor for sex offenders and victims of abuse at the Idaho Youth Ranch and at a treatment program in Ontario, Oregon.
According to court documents, the investigation into Saltzer’s activities began in October 2010, when the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, in conjunction with Toronto Police Services in Canada, initiated an investigation into a private Internet group established by members to communicate with one another about their shared sexual interest in young boys, and to exchange child pornography. Members of the group regularly traded child pornography files with other group members.
The group existed under various names for approximately 15 years. According to court documents, Saltzer had been a member of the group for more than a decade. Participants in the group resided in Idaho, New York, Virginia, Florida, Texas, Indiana, California, Pennsylvania, Canada, Lebanon, and Mexico, among other places.
According to the plea agreement, Saltzer admitted meeting boys between the ages of 10 and 17 in Internet chat rooms and engaging them in webcam sessions during which he encouraged them to masturbate. Saltzer used Skype and recorded webcam footage of the teenage boys performing sexual acts. He further admitted to using special software that allowed him to import a video of a child about 14 years old masturbating, and showing the video to the boy so it appeared that he was chatting with another teenager, instead of an adult.
According to the plea agreement, Saltzer also admitted that between 2006 and 2012, he produced sexually explicit videos of numerous boys between the ages of 11 and 17. Some of the videos he produced were distributed worldwide, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
“Those who victimize children by producing and distributing images of children being sexually abused will be identified, investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Olson. “When it comes to crimes that target society’s most vulnerable members, we will not let boundaries or agency affiliation interfere with the work that must be done. Mr. Saltzer’s prison sentence sends the strong message that local, state, federal and international law enforcement agencies will work together in an efficient and coordinated manner to bring these predators to justice.”
The case was investigated by U.S. Postal Inspection Service inspectors from Boise, Seattle and Washington, D.C., and the Indiana State Police. The Boise Police Department, Meridian Police Department, and Idaho State Police assisted locally. Saltzer was originally charged by the Ada County Prosecuting Attorney; those charges were dismissed in August after Saltzer pleaded guilty in federal court.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc.
For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”
Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a collaborative effort by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and communities to prevent and deter gun violence.