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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 5, 2020

Washington State Man Sentenced For Child Exploitation In Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tenn. – On March 4, 2020, Mark Douglas Gould, 50, currently of Port Orchard, Washington, was sentenced by the Honorable Curtis L. Collier, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga. 

As part of the plea agreement, Gould pled guilty to an indictment charging him with one count of knowingly using a facility or means of interstate commerce in an attempt to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce a minor to engage in sexual activity. Gould was sentenced to 210 months in prison, followed by 10 years’ supervised release.  Gould is required to register with the state sex offender registry in any state in which he lives, works, or attends school and to comply with special sex offender conditions during his supervised release.

In January 2019, Gould responded to an online advertisement offering to permit someone to engage in online sexually oriented live transmissions with an 8-year-old in exchange for child pornography.  During the on-line conversation, Gould proffered an additional child in exchange for sexually explicit content.  Law enforcement officials apprehended the individual who was offering the advertised content and took over the account, assuming the role of the initial contact.  Gould continued his efforts and, in doing so, distributed child pornography and offered payment to take part in a live transmission.  Ultimately, Gould traveled from Washington state to Chattanooga, Tennessee, intending to engage in sexual contact with the child, and was then arrested. 

 “Predators who actually travel in an attempt to victimize and have sexual contact with children are the worst of their kind.  Collaborative efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies resulted in this defendant no longer being able to circulate images and videos of sexually abuse of children,” said U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey.  “To those who choose to do the same, know that we’re coming for you, and we’ll put you away for as long as the law allows.”  

“Sexual predators use the Internet and social media to find children, victimize them and entice illicit sexual activity.  This crime is deplorable and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible by law,” said HSI Nashville Special Agent in Charge Jerry C. Templet Jr. “This sentencing should send a message that the United States will aggressively investigate and prosecute those who choose to participate in the continued victimization of children.”

The criminal indictment resulted from an ongoing investigation by the Chattanooga Crimes Against Children Task Force, comprised of agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department, and the Chattanooga Police Department.  This investigation was led by HSI Special Agent Dave Nalley.

Assistant United States Attorney James T. Brooks represented the United States.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006, by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.  For more information about PSC, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

For more information about internet safety education, go to www.justice.gov/psc/resources.html click on the tab "resources.”

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Contact: 
Rachelle Barnes Public Information Officer (865) 545-4167
Updated March 5, 2020