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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ANGELA DODGE

Jan. 5, 2011

PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
(713) 567-9388

NAVY LAWYER INDICTED FOR POSSESSING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) – A sealed indictment charging a Navy lawyer stationed at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi with receiving and distributing child pornography via his home computer has been unsealed today, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno and acting Special Agent in Charge John Connolly of the Houston office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) announced today.

Mark Tilford, 43, a Corpus Christi resident and active duty Navy JAG Lt. Commander, was charged in a nine-count sealed indictment returned by a Corpus Christi grand jury on Dec. 20, 2010. The indictment was unsealed today following the arrest of Tilford at his home in Corpus Christi by special agents with ICE-HSI and Navy Criminal Investigative Service this morning.  Tilford had his initial appearance and arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge B. Janice Ellington this afternoon. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack and has been set for jury trial on March 2, 2011. Tilford has been ordered temporarily detained in federal custody pending a hearing on the government’s motion to detain him without bond pending trial set for Friday, Jan. 7, 2011, at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian L. Owsley.

The indictment accuses Tilford in nine counts of receiving and distributing child pornography via his home computer between July and September 2010. The child pornography allegedly consisted of images and videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

The investigation leading to the charges against Tilford was initiated by ICE-HSI with the assistance of the Corpus Christi Police Department in July 2010 and involved an undercover Peer to Peer download of child pornography from a computer in Tilford’s home.

Both receiving and or distributing child pornography carry a mandatory minimum term of five years imprisonment up to a maximum statutory punishment of 20 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and up to a lifetime term of supervised release, upon conviction.  

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse 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, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, 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.

Indictments are formal accusations of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.

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