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Press Release

Greensboro Man Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison in Child Pornography Case That Involved Thousands of Images

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of North Carolina

Winston-Salem, N.C. – A man who pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography was sentenced today, announced Matthew G.T. Martin, United States Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina.

MARK DENVER TOWNSEND, 48, of Greensboro, North Carolina, pleaded guilty on February 4, 2019, to one count of receipt of child pornography. He was sentenced by United States District Judge Loretta Copeland Biggs to 84 months of imprisonment followed by 10 years of supervised release. He was ordered to pay a total of $114,500 in restitution to eighteen victims.

In 2018, an investigator with the North Carolina SBI Computer Crimes Unit learned that an individual located at TOWNSEND’s residence was likely downloading child pornography using a sophisticated peer-to-peer network. The network is known to law enforcement and designed to allow users to anonymously share and download files. In October, the SBI investigator and a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations interviewed TOWNSEND at his residence. The investigators seized TOWNSEND’s external hard drive which contained 15,029 images and 1,502 videos constituting child pornography. The contraband files were located in a folder titled “CP” and sorted into sub-folders labeled “pics,” “mov,” and “to watch.” Their created-on dates ranged from June 2015 to August 2018.

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) are both members of the North Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Eric L. Iverson.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative by the Department of Justice to combat online 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 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


Updated August 16, 2019