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Child porn suspect pleads guilty

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By The Staff

The Lawrenceburg man charged with 70 counts of possessing and distributing child pornography pleaded guilty Wednesday afternoon in Anderson Circuit Court and could now face up to 20 years in prison.
Mark Hawks, 55, of Secretariat Drive entered his plea roughly 16 months after being indicted for downloading and viewing pornographic images of girls as young as 6 years old at his home and at his workplace in Shelbyville.
Because the charges are all C and D felonies, Commonwealth’s Attorney Laura Donnell said 20 years in prison is the maximum amount of time to which Hawks can be sentenced.
Kentucky State Police investigators used a warrant to intercept images and videos Hawks was downloading at his home last spring.
While interviewing him in his driveway, Hawks told investigators that he became “stimulated” by looking at images of video of pre-pubescent girls as young as 6 years old, and that he had previously been convicted of inappropriately touching an 8-year-old niece while babysitting.
Documents on file also include chilling descriptions of photo and video files Hawks allegedly possessed or viewed, including naked children being forced into sexual encounters with adults and others being forced to show their genitalia.
When police arrived at his home, Hawks told them he knew what they were looking for, and that the computer containing the images was in the trunk of his car.
A police search of computers inside the home owned by Hawks’ wife and college-aged son did not reveal child pornography, according to the transcript.
Hawks told investigators that he is heterosexual and has no interest in boys. He said he was stimulated by looking at young naked girls, but aside from being charged for touching his niece, never tried to have sexual relations with them.
Asked by an investigator the age of the youngest girls he viewed, Hawks responded, “Eight, 9, 6, I don’t know.”
“I’m going to say that the age range of your pornography for sex items is between the age of 8 and adults,” the investigator says in the transcript.
“That’s at least fair,” replied Hawks.
“Do you find you like a certain child video? I mean what age group do you like?” the investigator asked.
“I just look at them all,” replied Hawks.
Hawks also revealed to investigators that he was charged in the early 1990s with indecent exposure for allegedly showing his genitals to two teenage girls in Ohio, adding that the charge was later dismissed.
He said he began looking at child pornography while he was separated from his wife.
Hawks said a woman he was with at that time was concerned that her daughters were being sexually abused, and that she was afraid they had been videotaped performing sexual acts.
Hawks told investigators that he began searching the Internet for images of the girls, which lead him into being “stimulated” by those types of images.
Asked by investigators if he should be around young girls, Hawks said no.