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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 4, 2019

Air Force Colonel Pleads Guilty to Receiving Child Pornography

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – An Air Force Colonel pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography.

According to admissions made in connection with his plea agreement, between November 2015 and June 2016, Mark Visconi, 48, of Fairfax, received and attempted to receive child pornography using the Internet. Visconi used an online bulletin board dedicated to the sharing of child pornography that operated on the anonymous TOR network to download child pornography. A forensic review of his laptop showed that Visconi downloaded and viewed numerous child pornography images and videos.

According to court documents, Visconi used his cell phone to create hundreds of pictures focused on the clothed buttocks of minor girls. In a smaller subset of these pictures, Visconi appeared to take “upskirting” images of some of the girls. It does not appear that any of the girls were aware that pictures were being taken.

Visconi pleaded guilty to receiving and attempting to receive child pornography and faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison when sentenced on Jan. 31, 2020. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, 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 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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.justice.gov/psc.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Brian A. Benczkowski, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Marc Meyer, Special Agent In Charge, U.S. Department of State’s Office of Inspector General, and Raymond Villanueva, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C., made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Whitney Russell and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and Trial Attorney of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section Gwendelynn Bills are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:19-cr-258.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Public Affairs joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated October 5, 2019