BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – A Connecticut man waived his right to indictment and has pleaded guilty to one count of accessing child pornography. The guilty plea is the result of an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Probation Office for the District of Connecticut.
Mark Porter, 34, of Bethany, Conn., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in Bridgeport. Porter also admitted that he violated the conditions of his supervised release that followed a previous federal conviction for possession of child pornography.
According to court documents and statements made in court, on Feb. 14, 2008, Porter was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Connecticut to 18 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for possession of child pornography. Porter was released from prison and began serving his term of supervised release on July 30, 2009.
One of Porter's conditions of supervised release was that his computer activity would be monitored by the probation office, through the use of monitoring software installed on his computer. In April 2011, a U.S. probation officer observed through the monitoring software that Porter repeatedly searched for and accessed images of child pornography on the Internet.
Judge Hall has scheduled sentencing for April 2, 2012, at which time Porter faces a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison, a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He also faces a mandatory minimum term of five years in prison for violating the terms of his supervised release.
The penalties in this matter are enhanced based on Porter's prior federal conviction for possession of child pornography.
Porter has been detained in federal custody since his arrest on April 26, 2011.
This investigation is part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE 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. ICE HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE 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.
The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Neeraj Patel.