Fort Worth registered sex offender indicted for producing child pornography

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FORT WORTH, Texas — A federal grand jury returned an indictment Wednesday charging a Fort Worth man with one count of producing child pornography and one count of committing this offense as a registered sex offender.

Mark Anthony Pape, 23, has been in federal custody since his arrest last month in San Marcos, Texas, on a related charge outlined in a federal criminal complaint.

U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas announced this indictment. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Fort Worth Police Department are investigating.

According to the criminal complaint, in February 2014, Pape engaged in sexually explicit conduct with a prepubescent minor and made a video recording of that conduct with his cell phone. During the execution of a state search warrant at a search of Pape's residence, law enforcement seized that cell phone. A forensic exam of the phone's memory card revealed images and videos of Pape sexually abusing a prepubescent female.

This investigation was initiated when the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) received a cyber-tip regarding an individual who had uploaded suspected child pornography to the Internet. This investigation led to identifying Pape, a registered sex offender.

A federal indictment is an accusation by a grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted, however, the statutory penalty for the production count is not less than 15 years or more than 30 years in prison; for the registered sex offender count, a mandatory 10-year consecutive sentence. Both counts also carry a fine of up to $250,000 and a term of supervised release of up to life.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aisha Saleem, Northern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.

This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including producing and distributing online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line 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 & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI's Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.

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.

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