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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hastings Man Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison For Producing Child Pornography

MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court, a 25-year-old Hastings man was sentenced for producing child pornography. United States District Judge Ann D. Montgomery sentenced Mark Matthew Cortes to 360 months in prison, along with a lifetime of supervised release, on one count of production of child pornography. Cortes was indicted on December 3, 2012, and pleaded guilty on April 9, 2013.

In his plea agreement, Cortes admitted that in November 2011, he knowingly persuaded a minor under the age of 12 to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing images of such conduct on his cellular telephone. Cortes also admitted that he transferred the images from his phone to his computer and then distributed them to another person. In addition, Cortes admitted that he committed a sexual act with the victim during production.

This case was the result of an investigation by the Minnesota Child Exploitation Task Force, which is sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David P. Steinkamp.

Production of child pornography is against the law. In addition to prosecuting these cases, the Justice Department is funding a study focused on the correlation between involvement in child pornography and hands-on sexual abuse of children. A 2008 study (The Butner Study) published in the Journal of Family Violence found that up to 80 percent of federal inmates incarcerated for possession, receipt, or distribution of child pornography also admitted to hands-on sexual abuse of children, ranging from touching to rape.

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 U.S. Attorney offices and the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and identify and rescue victims. For more information about PSC, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/. For more information about internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/resources.html and click on the tab “resources.”



Updated April 30, 2015