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ANGELA DODGE
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March 17, 2011

NAVY JAG ATTORNEY PLEADS GUILTY TO RECEIVING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) – A Naval officer stationed at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi has pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Mark Tilford, 43, of Corpus Christi, Texas, who at the time of his indictment and arrest was an active duty Navy JAG Lt. Commander, pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography before United States District Court Judge Janis Graham Jack. He now faces a mandatory minimum term of five years imprisonment up to a maximum statutory punishment of 20 years imprisonment and up to a lifetime term of supervised release.

Tilford was accused in an indictment returned Dec. 20, 2010, of receiving and distributing child pornography via his home computer between July and September 2010. The child pornography consisted of images and videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.                                               

Today, Tilford acknowledged that in July 2010, a detective with the Corpus Christi Police Department (CCPD), while acting in an undercover capacity, conducted an investigation into the online activities of persons distributing child pornography via peer to peer software. On July 26, 2010, the detective downloaded multiple files of child pornography traced to a computer at Mark Tilford’s residence. As a result, a federal search warrant obtained by federal agents was executed on Tilford’s Corpus Christi home on Oct. 1, 2010. Agents seized several computers and other electronic storage devices. Subsequent forensic analysis of those devices led to the discovery of 266 images and 98 videos of suspected child pornography on two computers, many of which have been identified as containing known victims by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 

Tilford has been in custody since his arrest on Jan. 5, 2011, by Navy Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), where he will remain pending his sentencing hearing, set for May 26, 2011, at 2:30 p.m. before Judge Jack.
           
This case, prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lance Duke, 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.

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