BOWLING GREEN, KY. – Chief U.S. District Judge Greg Stivers yesterday sentenced repeat sex offender Mark Allen Johnson, 31, of Bowling Green, to 20 years’ imprisonment, followed by lifetime supervised release, for distribution of child pornography, attempted enticement, and attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor, announced Michael A. Bennett, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky. There is no parole in the federal system.
“The fine work of Branch Chief Madison Sewell, the FBI, and the Roswell Georgia Police Department ensured the successful prosecution of Johnson,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bennett. “The prosecution team’s effort resulted in a lengthy 20-year period of incarceration followed by federal supervision for life. The community is safer now for all citizens – especially our children.”
“Due to the lengthy sentence handed down yesterday, the FBI along with our valued partners, have effectively removed a dangerous child predator from our community,” said FBI Louisville Special Agent in Charge Robert Brown. “Know that those found exploiting the innocence of children online will be met with rigorous investigators working to hand down the harshest of punishments. The FBI will stop at nothing to provide justice to victims of sexual exploitation.”
In January 2020, Johnson pled guilty in state court to Prohibited Use of an Electronic Communication System to Procure a Minor. According to a sentencing memorandum filed by the United States, Johnson had created a profile and went online to communicate with minors. In one such communication, Johnson engaged with an individual he believed to be a thirteen-year-old girl, but who was actually an undercover Georgia law enforcement officer. Johnson engaged the officer in overtly sexual conversations, and in February 2020 (only a few weeks after his state court plea), he sent the Georgia undercover officer a video of child pornography.
Independently of his Georgia chats, Johnson was also chatting online with another person who he believed to be a minor, and who was an undercover FBI agent. The conversations with the undercover FBI agent date back to December 2019, were overtly sexual, and included an offer to meet the individual he believed to be a minor in order to engage in sex acts.
The investigations combined when, after the FBI conducted a federal search warrant at Johnson’s Bowling Green residence, Johnson provided the Georgia undercover with a copy of the federal search warrant. Johnson explained that he had a new number because the FBI had taken his phone in the search. Johnson was arrested shortly thereafter and has been in federal custody ever since.
After being sentenced by the United States District Court, Johnson is also due to return to state court for sentencing on the state charge to which he pled in January 2020, where the recommended sentence is five years “to run consecutively to any other sentence in any other indictment.”
Branch Chief Madison Sewell of the Bowling Green United States Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case. The investigations were conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Roswell (GA) Police Department.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 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 victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”