A Forest Hill man was arrested in connection to thousands of pornographic images and videos of minors that he allegedly saved to his workplace computer and his employer’s cloud storage client.
Mark Monroe Armstrong, 61, was arrested Aug. 28 after Maryland Transportation Authority Police discovered the files on his computer at the South Locust Point Marine Terminal in Baltimore City. Armstrong worked for BalTerm — a private shipping company operating at the terminal, according to court documents filed in Baltimore City District Court.
Armstrong was charged with three counts each of possessing child pornography and distributing child pornography. He posted $10,000 bond and was released the day of his arrest. Court documents and electronic court records did not make clear if there were any conditions for his release.
Though Armstrong is charged with six counts total, “additional charges are pending based on the discovery of new victims,” the documents state.
According to the documents, Armstrong had a history of accessing inappropriate websites at work.
“Mr. Armstrong was given a written warning by email concerning his questionable internet browsing habits on January 25, 2018,” the documents state. “Sites of a pornographic nature had been accessed from his work computer on numerous occasions.”
It was not until 2019 that the police got involved. According to the documents, a manager at BalTerm contacted MDTA police on March 13, 2019, after receiving a report of possible child pornography on Armstrong’s work computer.
The company’s anti-virus service flagged Armstrong’s computer on March 4, 2019, revealing he had been browsing porn from his work computer, the documents state. He was sent another warning email, but nine days later, the antivirus system tripped on his computer again, suggesting there was a malicious file on his PC, according to the documents.
While the company was poking around Armstrong’s computer during the investigation, the systems administrator noticed a large number of downloads from a particular website. Staff discovered 133 gigabytes “of what seemed to be child pornography,” downloaded to the computer, the documents state..
Company staff did not open the files, but their file names betrayed their content, some mentioning children as young as 8 years old, investigators stated in charging documents.
The files were saved to Armstrong’s computer but also synchronously uploaded to his workplace’s OneDrive account — a cloud storage platform. Police seized Armstrong’s computer and sent it to a Maryland State Police lab for forensic examination.
Just short of a year later, the results came back, revealing “over 2,000 known child abuse materials and over 35,000 child erotica and age difficult materials in the corporate’s OneDrive folder,” the documents state.
“A further examination of the OneDrive’s ’per’ folder revealed a total of 89,005 files, which were mostly comprised of known child pornography materials, suspected child pornography materials, and other pornography images and videos,” the document continues.
The majority of the files originated from one website; Armstrong allegedly visited it 859 times, according to the documents. Other pornographic sites were also represented in his website visit records, the documents state.
Online court records did not list an attorney representing Armstrong. No trial date has been set.
Attempts to reach Armstrong for comment at a phone number listed in court documents was unsuccessful.