Child Porn Plea Deal Reveals One of the Largest Explicit Image/V - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Child Porn Plea Deal Reveals One of the Largest Explicit Image/Video Collections in the Basin

by Jen Kastner
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- New details revealed in Midland-based petroleum engineer Mark Weldon Miller's plea agreement show he had 17,000 sexually explicit images and 9,000 pornographic videos of children on his electronic devices.

Assistant U.S. Attorney, Austin Berry, tells NewsWest 9, "Miller is one of the largest collectors I've prosecuted in the last four years here in the Permian Basin, both in terms of number of images and victims identified."

Last Thursday, Miller pleaded guilty to three counts related to accessing and possessing child pornography. Images from his seized cell phone included graphic and erotic images of children as young as three-years-old.

The thousands of seized images and videos were sent for forensic analysis at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Once analyzed, it was determined Miller had images of 85 known victims, some born as recently as 2008. Miller also had images of another 111 separate victims who have yet to be fully identified.

Berry says that in his previous child exploitation cases, fewer than two dozen identified victims have ever been discovered from one defendant's child porn collection.

NewsWest 9 asked NCMEC's John Shehan if the sheer volume of Miller's collection was surprising.

"Unfortunately, no. We're living in the digital era where you can trade and possess images and videos at amazing speeds. Think of the cost of an external hard drive. Five to ten years ago, most people just couldn't afford a one, two or three terabyte storage drive, but now you can go into an electronics store and get it at a relatively cheap price," Shehan said. 

Shehan says, these days it's common for child porn collectors to possess at least one terabyte of pornographic material. If a megabyte is one filled seat at the Dallas Cowboys stadium, a terabyte would be like 12 sold out games.

The 85 identified victims can now find out that Miller was holding onto the videos or images in which they appeared. NCMEC is in the process of handing over that list to the FBI's Office for Victim Assistance (OVA). Once OVA receives the list, it will send letters to the victims that have chosen to be notified. At this time, we still don't know how many of those 85 known victims want notification.

The ones that do receive it might then choose to reach out to Midland Federal Judge Robert Junell, who'll be overseeing Miller's upcoming sentencing hearing.

"There are certainly a handful of victim impact statements that are out there and they are very helpful when it comes to sentencing. It gives the victim an opportunity to put some words behind the abuse," Shehan said.

NewsWest 9 spoke with Judge Junell on Monday about victim impact statements. He says it's common for him to receive those types of letters in these particular cases. In fact, in nearly every child porn case, notified victims or their representatives will write to him, oftentimes informing him they're affected by just the thought of child porn collectors repeatedly looking at their images or videos.

"Every time that photograph is re-traded, it's a crime scene photograph. That child is re-victimized over and over again and many of these pictures just live on for years upon years," Shehan said.

In rare cases, some victims will even appear at sentencing hearings. There's a slim chance one may appear at Miller's hearing, scheduled for April 25th. Judge Junell says that he can only recall one past case in which a victim appeared in his courtroom for a sentencing hearing.

Miller faces 15 to roughly 20 years in prison.

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