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Child Exploitation

Boston doctor sentenced to 21 years for traveling to Alaska to have sex with minor

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A Boston doctor was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison Friday following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) that revealed he traveled to Alaska to have sex with a 5-year-old boy.

John Mark Felton, 48, was convicted of traveling from Boston to Anchorage in November 2009 to meet a grandfather and engage in the planned sexual abuse and rape of a boy. He was met by law enforcement and arrested. At the time of his arrest, investigators determined Felton had amassed a collection of more than 1,200 images and at least 70 videos of boys and girls being sexually abused.

Undercover HSI special agents encountered Felton in 2008 in an online chat room dedicated to discussing sex with young boys. In his first chat with an HSI special agent posing as a grandfather, Felton proposed traveling to Alaska to have sex with the "grandfather's" 5-year-old grandson. Over a series of online conversations with the undercover special agent, Felton expressed his continued interested in the illicit activity. He eventually followed through and was arrested.

Felton, a United Kingdom citizen, had been most recently living and working as a physician in the Boston area.

As part of his sentence, Felton agreed to pay $20,000 to an Alaska non-profit that deals with child victims of sexual abuse and pay $5,000 to the victim depicted in the "Vicky" series of child sexual exploitation images that were among Felton's collection.

Because he is a citizen of the U.K., Felton may pursue transfer to a U.K. prison pursuant to an international prisoner transfer treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom.

The case is part of HSI's Operation Predator, a nationwide initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who sexually exploit children, and Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a Department of Justice effort launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

As part of Operation Predator, HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.

Led by U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section in the Justice Department's Criminal Division, PSC marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about PSC, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov or call the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington and ask to speak with the PSC coordinator.