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Ellicott City man pleads guilty to federal charge of attempted possession of child pornography

An Ellicott City man pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal charge of attempted possession of child pornography, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland announced.

According to his guilty plea, Mark David Franklin, 44, traveled from Ellicott City to Frederick on Oct. 10, 2018 — carrying a teddy bear, condoms, a towel and two blankets — where he expected to meet and “engage in sexually explicit activity” with a 13-year-old girl.

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When Franklin arrived at the location with the items he believed to be requested by the teenage girl, he was arrested, learning he had been communicating the entire time with an undercover FBI special agent, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Franklin used online applications between Sept. 7 and Oct. 10, 2018, “to attempt to induce an individual he believed to be a 13-year-old girl to engage in sexually explicit activity,” including requesting to have her send “sexually explicit photographs of herself,” according to his guilty plea.

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He engaged in sexually explicit conversations, sent sexually explicit photographs of himself and discussed meeting “to engage in sex acts,” describing the photographs he “wished to take during their sexual encounter,” as detailed in his plea agreement.

He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for 10:15 a.m. Dec. 17.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur and Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone, from the Baltimore FBI field office.

Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, assisted with this case. The initiative was launched by the Department of Justice in 2006.

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