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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New Port Richey Man Convicted Of Child Exploitation Offenses

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that a federal jury has found Mark Joseph Unrein (62, New Port Richey) guilty of possessing child pornography and using a cell phone and computer to attempt to induce a person he believed was a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity. He faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison. The sentencing hearing has been scheduled for October 23, 2015.

Unrein was originally indicted on June 26, 2014. On January 14, 2015, a superseding indictment was returned that added the possession of child pornography count.

According to evidence presented at trial, the investigation of Unrein began during a Citrus County Sheriff’s Office child exploitation operation seeking to identify individuals who posed a risk to children in the community. On May 8, 2014, an undercover officer posted a personal ad online posing as a mother who would allow her “12-year-old daughter” to have a sex with a stranger. Unrein responded to the ad on the same day, and began communicating with the undercover officer. Through emails and phone calls, Unrein made arrangements to meet to have sex with the “child.” The next day, Unrein drove to Inverness, where he believed the “mother” and “child” resided. He was subsequently arrested.

After the arrest, agents conducted a search of Unrein’s residence and seized the computer that he had used to communicate with the undercover officer. A forensic examination of the computer revealed numerous images of young children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.     

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Amanda C. Kaiser.

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 United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 www.justice.gov/psc.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated July 28, 2015