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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Mark Douglas “Doug” Helton Sentenced To 151 Months In Prison For Child Pornography Offenses

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.- On April 5, 2016, Mark Douglas “Doug” Helton, 62, of Maryville, Tenn., was sentenced by the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, Chief U.S. District Judge, to serve 151 months in prison as a result of his conviction for distribution of child pornography.  

Following his release from prison, Helton will be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 10 years and will be required to register with the sex offender registry in any state in which he resides, works, or attends school.

Helton pleaded guilty in October 2015 to federal charges stemming from an undercover investigation into distribution of child pornography via peer-to-peer file sharing software on the Internet.  After undercover investigators downloaded child pornography from Helton’s computer, a federal search warrant was executed at his residence and a forensic examination of his computer revealed that he had collected thousands of images and videos of child pornography.  A large assortment of the depictions of child abuse collected by the defendant was available for download by others from Helton’s computer through the use of peer-to-peer software.

Nancy Stallard Harr, Acting U.S. Attorney, emphasized the importance of pursuing child pornography offenders stating, “This sentence should send a message that the United States will aggressively investigate and prosecute those who choose to participate in the continued victimization of children, some of our most vulnerable members of society, through the circulation of child pornography on the Internet.”

This investigation was conducted locally by Knoxville Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Morris represented the United States.

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 U.S. 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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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated April 5, 2016