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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Indiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 27, 2013

Evansville Man Charged With Possession, Distribution Of Child Pornography

EVANSVILLE – Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced today that Mark David Yauger, age 46, of Evansville, has been charged by a federal grand jury with two counts of distribution and one count of possession of sexually explicit material involving minors. This follows an investigation as part of the U.S. Attorney’s ongoing Operation Community Watch.

“The type of behavior alleged in this case exploits children and will not be tolerated by federal law enforcement,” Hogsett said. “That is why we launched Operation Community Watch earlier this year – to protect Hoosier families and send a message to criminals that they cannot hide online.”

The indictment alleges that on March 16, 2013, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Southwest Indiana Cyber Crimes Task Force identified Yauger as an online distributor of sexually explicit material involving minors. It is also alleged that Yauger possessed sexually explicit material involving minors in July 2013. Court documents indicate that the government has filed a forfeiture allegation identifying computer equipment used in the offense that the government will seek to seize from Mark David Yauger if he is convicted.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd S. Shellenbarger, who is prosecuting the case for the government, Yauger faces a minimum of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. An initial hearing was held in Evansville before a U.S. Magistrate Judge, but no formal trial date has been set.

This arrest comes as Hogsett has announced a comprehensive crackdown on child exploitation in Indiana. Just last year, he launched “Operation Community Watch,” which will allow prosecutors and investigators to use cutting-edge techniques to identify and charge people in Hoosier communities who are engaged in the receipt and trafficking of child pornography materials.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a larger nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Hogsett pointed out that in the last Project Safe Childhood reporting year, the Office prosecuted 52 defendants, an increase of 37% over the prior year, and 49 defendants were convicted and sentenced. These are all-time records for the Office.

The greatest measure of the PSC program’s impact, however, is the identification and rescue of child victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. Over the last year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office successfully identified more than 120 child victims, including minors in Indiana, numerous places in the United States, Canada, Switzerland, and other countries around the world.

Led nationally 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Information, indictments, and criminal complaints are only a charge and are not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated January 26, 2015