Mark Winston Pace, 28, of Medford, Ore. pleaded guilty to one count of mailing child pornography in November 2009. He came to the attention of law enforcement in May 2008 when a 14-year-old girl in New Hampshire reported that she had participated in sexually explicit, on-line chats with an older man.
New Hampshire police traced the online chats to Oregon. In November 2008, Medford Police detectives located Pace and seized his computers.
Pace said his sexually explicit chats were only in jest. He later admitted there was child pornography on his computers, and that he exchanged the images with others during his online chats.
ICE agents conducted a forensic examination of Pace's computer and discovered 296 images of child pornography and more than 40 videos depicting child molestation. They also found evidence that Pace actively traded child pornography during his sexually explicit chats.
"This case serves as a reminder of the important responsibility ICE has to seek out those who use the Internet to sexually exploit innocent children," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations that oversees Oregon. "ICE remains committed to investigating these child predators and bringing them to justice."
At the conclusion on his prison term, Pace will be required to undergo mental health counseling and register as a sex offender. In addition, his computer and Internet access will be restricted.
ICE was joined in this investigation by the Medford Police Department, the Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force and the New Hampshire State Police.
This case was the result of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign national predators whose crimes make them deportable. Launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 11,600 individuals under Operation Predator.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. This hotline is 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.