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Secretariat Drive man gets 20 years for child porn

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Hawks eligible for parole in four years

By Ben Carlson

The Lawrenceburg man who late last year pleaded guilty to a host of child pornography distribution charges was sentenced to 20 years in prison Tuesday morning in Anderson County Circuit Court.
Mark Hawks, 55, who previously lived at 402 Secretariat Drive, received the maximum sentence allowed, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Laura Donnell.
Public defender Scott Getsinger asked Judge Charles Hickman to consider parole for Hawks, who had a previous sex offense conviction in the late 1980s for inappropriately touching an 8-year-old niece.
Getsinger also asked that Hawks be allowed “a couple of weeks” before reporting to state prison so that he could make arrangements to care for his ailing wife.
Hickman denied both requests and ordered Hawks to be taken immediately into custody.
“Noting the serious nature of the offenses, the motion for probation is denied,” Hickman said, adding that Hawks has already had sufficient time to make arrangements for his wife before being sentenced.
Hawks, dressed in a blue windbreaker and jeans, appeared resigned to his fate when the judge denied probation, turned and shook hands with Getsinger and was escorted by a deputy from the courtroom.
Donnell said she was pleased with the maximum sentence and made it clear that child pornography is not a “victimless crime.”
“Sexual offenders say they are only looking and not hurting anyone,” Donnell said moments after Tuesday’s hearing. “What they fail to state is that in every image a child is abused to make that image.”
Donnell added that child pornography is a “horrible crime” and that probation was not acceptable.
Donnell said that Hawks will be eligible for parole in just four years, but that doesn’t mean he will get out of jail that quickly.
“A lot of factors go into that,” she said, noting that he would first be required to complete what she called “sex offender treatment.”
Hawks was indicted nearly two years ago on 70 counts of possessing and distributing child pornography. On Tuesday, he was sentenced on all 70 counts in Anderson County, plus an additional 40 counts of distributing child pornography in Shelby County, where he worked.
Hawks was charged after investigators with the Kentucky State Police used a warrant to intercept images and videos Hawks was downloading at his home.
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 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.