Registered Sex Offender Indicted for Producing Child Pornography
FORT WORTH, Texas — A federal grand jury returned an indictment yesterday charging Mark Anthony Pape, 23, of Fort Worth, Texas, with one count of production of child pornography and one count of committing this offense as a registered sex offender. Pape has been in federal custody since his arrest last month in San Marcos, Texas, on a related charge outlined in a federal criminal complaint. U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas made the announcement today.
According to the criminal complaint, in February 2014, Pape used a prepubescent minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct with him and made a video recording of that conduct with his cell phone. During the execution of a state search warrant at a search of Pape’s residence, law enforcement seized that cell phone, and a forensic exam of the memory card revealed images and videos of Pape engaged in the sexual abuse of a prepubescent female.
The investigation was initiated when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) received a cyber-tip regarding an individual who had uploaded an image, containing suspected child pornography, to the Internet. The investigation led to the identification of Pape, a registered sex offender.
A federal indictment is an accusation by a grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted, however, the statutory penalty for the production count is not less than 15 years or more than 30 years in prison and for the registered sex offender count, a mandatory 10-year consecutive sentence. Both counts also carry a fine of up to $250,000 and a term of supervised release of up to life.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative, which was launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/. For more information about internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/ and click on the tab “resources.”
The Fort Worth Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) are investigating. Assistant U.S. Attorney Aisha Saleem is in charge of the prosecution.
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