Man Indicted for Receipt and Possession of Child Porn
Reno, Nev. - A Las Vegas man was indicted by the United States Grand Jury today on child pornography charges, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada. MARK RAFFENSPARGER, age 47, of Las Vegas, is charged with Receipt of Child Pornography and Possession of Child Pornography, both felonies. If convicted, he is facing a five- to 20-year period of imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 on the Receipt of Child Pornography count, and up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 on the Possession of Child Pornography count. The five-year minimum mandatory penalty for Receipt of Child Pornography is one of the new enhanced penalties for persons convicted of certain child sex offenses under the "Protect Act", Pub. L. No. 108-066, 117 Stat. 650, which went into effect on April 30, 2003. The Act made significant changes to child pornography laws and to the existing sentencing scheme for child sex offenders.
The Indictment alleges that on approximately February 2, 2004, MARK RAFFENSPARGER received and possessed three or more images of child pornography that had been mailed, shipped and transported in interstate commerce and foreign commerce by any means, including by computer. The Indictment seeks forfeiture of computer images depicting a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, a Compaq computer and hard drive, 76 compact discs, 36 floppy discs, and one video tape, all seized during the execution of a search warrant at the defendant's residence in Las Vegas on February 2, 2004.
An arrest warrant has been issued for the defendant. Following arrest, he will be brought before a United States Magistrate Judge for an initial appearance hearing and arraignment.
This case was initiated following a joint investigation into the distribution of child pornography over the internet conducted by the United States Department of Justice's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy J. Koppe.
Locally, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), which includes the above agencies, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and U.S. Secret Service, has been pro-actively pursuing and investigating cases involving the exploitation of children and minors over the internet. ICAC Task Forces are federally funded through the Department of Justice. Federal funding for the program nearly doubled in FY 2003 (to $12.5 million), and the President's request for FY 2005 includes a $2 million increase to $14.5 million. The task forces provide skills, equipment, and personnel to assist authorities combat child sexual exploitation.
Prosecuting crimes against the exploitable, is a top prosecution priority for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Nevada. Over the last two years, the U.S. Attorney's Office has experienced a significant increase in referrals of cases involving child pornography. Between January 1, 2002, and December 31, 2003, 52 defendants were charged in the District of Nevada with crimes ranging from receipt and possession of child pornography, interstate travel with intent to engage in a sexual act with a juvenile, and using a computer to entice a juvenile to have sex. In Calendar Year 2004, MARK RAFFENSPARGER is the fourth defendant charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Nevada with such crimes.
Report information about child pornography to your Internet Service Provider, your local FBI or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, or to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at (800) 843-5678 or www.cybertipline.com.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.