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Child Exploitation
03/14/2014

Maryland sex offender sentenced to federal prison for child pornography possession

BALTIMORE — A 52-year-old Westminster, Md., man was sentenced March 14 to 10 years in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release for possession of child pornography.

Scott Wade Markle was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake. In 2005, Markle was convicted of the same crime and was required to register as a sex offender. Judge Blake ordered that upon his release from prison, Markle must continue to register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

The sentencing follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Maryland State Police and the Carroll County Sheriff's Office.

According to Markle's plea agreement, on Feb. 11, 2013, an individual contacted the Carroll County Sheriff's Office after finding a black tote bag at the bottom of his driveway. The individual had opened the bag in an attempt to identify the owner and had seen printed images of what he believed to be child pornography. Sheriff's deputies recovered the bag which contained a student ID in Markle's name, recent mail addressed to Markle and a folder with Markle's name and address on the front which contained approximately 100 printed images of child pornography, including children under the age of 12 engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

A search warrant was executed the next day at Markle's residence and law enforcement seized a digital camera, cellular telephone and two laptop computers. Markle was interviewed and advised investigators that he had printed the child pornography years ago after he was released from prison on the 2005 conviction. He used the camera to take pictures of the images and upload them to his computer, since he didn't have internet access at his residence.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. 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 & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

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 the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the "resources" tab on the left of the page.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Judson T. Mihok.