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Press Release

Ellicott City Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge for Attempted Possession of Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland
Admitted Attempting to Entice a Minor to Engage in Sexual Activity in Order to Obtain Photos

Baltimore, Maryland – Mark David Franklin, age 44, of Ellicott City, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to the federal charge of attempted possession of child pornography. 

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur and Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.

According to his guilty plea, between September 7 and October 10, 2018, Franklin used online applications to attempt to induce an individual he believed to be a 13-year-old girl to engage in sexually explicit activity and send Franklin photos of the sexual conduct. In fact, Franklin was communicating with an undercover FBI Special Agent.

As detailed in his plea agreement, Franklin engaged in sexually explicit conversations with the minor female, sent her sexually explicit photographs of himself, and requested that she send him sexually explicit photographs of herself.  During their conversations, Franklin also discussed meeting in person to engage in sex acts and described the photographs he wished to take during their sexual encounter.

On October 10, 2018, Franklin traveled from Ellicott City to Frederick, Maryland, to meet and engage in sex acts with the 13-year-old girl.  When Franklin arrived at the agreed-upon location, he was arrested.  At the time of his arrest Franklin was in possession of a teddy bear requested by the 13-year-old girl, condoms, two blankets, and a towel.

Franklin faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.  U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has scheduled sentencing for December 17, 2019 at 10:15 a.m.

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 the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood 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 Project Safe Childhood, please visit  For more information about Internet safety education, please visit and click on the "Resources" tab on the left of the page.       

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force for their work in the investigation and thanked the Frederick City Police Department for its assistance.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel A. Loveland, Jr. and Paul E. Budlow, who are prosecuting the federal case.

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Marcia Murphy
(410) 209-4854

Updated October 1, 2019

Project Safe Childhood