Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Kathryn Mizelle has sentenced Mark Peterson (30, Tampa) to 36 years and 8 months in federal prison for production and distribution of child sex abuse material. The court also ordered Peterson to forfeit electronic devices used during the offense and pay $22,419.44 in restitution. Peterson had pleaded guilty on May 23, 2023.
According to court documents, between 2017 and 2018, through the social media application Facebook, Peterson enticed and coerced a 16-year-old victim to produce sexually explicit images and videos of herself. In 2020, through the social media application Discord, Peterson traded images and videos of children, including toddlers and babies, being sexually abused.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ilyssa M. Spergel.
It is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue child victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.