A Pornography Addict’s Journey Toward Redemption

Second in a two part series

Imagine the windowless rooms where unspeakable acts happen to children at the hands of profiteering adults. Imagine the terror and pain inflicted on innocent children as criminals capture the sordid action on video or photographs. This is at the core of what is believed to be the multi-billion-dollar, worldwide child porn industry. How producers of this filth can ease their conscience with cash is beyond my comprehension.

Catching the criminals who produce this smut in remote places is not easy. So, law enforcement often focuses on the consumers to choke off demand.

Arrests from One Child Porn Investigation in Polk County, Florida

Last week, I wrote about a man named Mark B. who was caught viewing this most awful kind of Internet porn. During phone calls from his prison in Pennsylvania, Mark admitted his obsession with adult porn led him to the darkest corners of the Internet and right into an FBI sting. He fully admits his guilt. He says he is deeply ashamed and still cannot fully understand why, as a hardworking, family man with no prior criminal record, he would dwell in that Internet cesspool.

“Damn, what a stupid man I was,” Mark told me during one conversation. I certainly couldn’t disagree.  I asked, “But, why turn to pornography?”

“’Cause it was free…I was bored,” he said. “And you could, if you were stressed, go into another world of self-gratification. I became like a Pavlov dog.”

Mark, the longtime captain of private yachts in Florida, is serving a particularly harsh 17 ½ year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institute at Loretto, Pennsylvania. There, he says, he discovered many more inmates who, like himself, were professionals with no prior record who became addicted to online pornography.

“It’s amazing how many people in here are like me,” he said. “Accountants, former mayors of someplace … that the federal government (put) away for a long time.”

They are derisively referred to as S.O.’s – sex offenders – by other inmates, Mark says, and are ostracized and subjected to violence by prisoners who might very well have been victims of childhood sex abuse themselves. Mark writes about this at his blog: MyShipwreck.com which his brother maintains as an archive for his children to read some day.

For example, in the chow hall the inmates segregate themselves. There is the Latino table, a section for the Italian inmates and so on. There is no specific place for the S.O.’s. Mark says, so they stand with their food trays waiting for a safe space to sit.

One day a guard ordered a white, middle-aged S.O. to take a seat at the Latino table even though all the spaces had been marked “saved” with overturned cups. The S.O. complied. “When the white inmate went outside,” Mark wrote, “the Latinos were waiting for him. A fight broke out, all over sitting down to eat a hamburger.”

Mark was arrested in 2010 at the age of 52 and because he had saved so many child porn images on his computer his sentence was “enhanced” for each transgression. If he serves his entire sentence he will be close to 70 upon release. There will be nothing waiting for him. His wife divorced him, his children are forbidden to communicate with him (both insisted to therapists they suffered no abuse) and his life savings are gone.

Today, Mark says, he sees younger men newly convicted of similar crimes coming into Loretto with much shorter, single digit sentences. That brought us to a conversation about federal sentencing guidelines. Paraphrasing the law Mark said, “The judge is supposed to think about what is sufficient to punish this guy but no greater than necessary.”

“I’ve been in here 7 years already,” he said. “I’ve learned my lesson, trust me. My heart breaks at the time I’ve lost with my children.” Then he told me about CautionClick.com, a grass roots advocacy group with a mission to change sentencing guidelines by educating the public about how pervasive porn is on the Internet and how the government’s actions have caused an “explosion of convictions, incarcerations and sex offender registrations for those who have otherwise led clean and productive lives.”

In some states a conviction like Mark’s could draw a life sentence. Yet those convicted of hands-on child sexual abuse often get much less time. Why? Because of the piling on of those sentencing enhancements based on the number of images the offender possesses. Someone who looked at, say, ten thousand images but didn’t save any would get less time than someone who saved a hundred images.

We can all agree it is immoral to view child porn. But it is time we ask ourselves how much time in prison is punishment enough. Mark asks himself that all the time. And he has a message for anyone who regularly finds themselves searching for porn.

“People think they won’t get caught. They are fooling themselves,” he said. “If you don’t’ watch out you’ll find that it becomes addictive. And if it does you’re going to look for more titillating types of pornography. Go get some counselling!”

And to the feds who investigate this. Let’s hope you can locate more of those secret rooms where this awful product is born.



  1. Diane Dimond on March 20, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Twitter Pal handbasketnotesmarie@handbasketnotes writes:

    Sentence enhancements can be outrageous. The bigger outrage is the #sexoffender registry.

  2. Diane Dimond on March 20, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Twitter Pal fair1ife4a11Dave Thompson@fair1ife4a11 writes:

    @DiDimond Hello. America is sexually ill. Goodbye

  3. Diane Dimond on March 20, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    Facebook Friend Eddie Emmons writes:

    Child porn is illegal…..adult porn is not….you cannot “police morality”……porn like alcohol or drugs can be a problem for some that have addictive personalities……..any addiction can destroy one’s life…..get help if you can’t control YOUR addiction.

  4. Diane Dimond on March 20, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Facebook Friend Drew Rutberg writes:

    I’m sorry I usually love what you write and usually learn something but these articles are way off the mark.
    I do computer forensics, data ,and network security for a living.
    It’s my job to see where you went on the net, what you did there and what if anything you download and saved or erased trying to hide it.
    It’s also my job to fully recover anything you may have erased.
    Why the commercial?
    Because I am an expert on the things people do with computers and I have seen things that would make your head spin.
    Please don’t misunderstand the following comments as a defense of pornography in any way but the problem here isn’t adult porn led him to child porn.
    For arguments sake Diane let’s say you spent 20 minutes a day looking at Playgirl’s website.
    Let’s say you enjoy seeing a naked man who is of age. The 20 minutes becomes 40 and so on till you’re there a considerable amount of time every day.
    Are you now going to seek out pictures of young boys. Of course not. You aren’t a pedophile. Just the thought of doing so is enough to turn your stomach I’m sure.
    Things like he was doing are found in the dark web that take special programs and knowledge to access ( think SilkRoad).
    He didn’t stumble on this. It wasn’t an accident and if he wasn’t a pedophile to begin with he would have closed the site immediately and never went back.
    Personally I don’t think he got enough time. He should die in prison.
    There is no cure or effective treatment for these people and if released he will only do it again and probably worse from the years of isolation and fantasy.

    • Diane Dimond on March 20, 2017 at 7:44 pm

      So, Drew Rutberg in your book there is no redemption? Getting caught, convicted and imprisoned can NEVER change a person? And someone with no police record for the first 52 years of his life can never learn his lesson? He/She should just be tossed in prison until they die?
      Wow. I guess I have more compassion than that. Its just not as black and white to me.

      • Diane Dimond on March 20, 2017 at 8:58 pm

        Drew replies:

        No more than a change in a sociopathic serial killer. Any mental health professional will tell you there is no cure or even mildly effective treatment for what ails him. He is what he is and will remain so.
        He doesn’t even take responsibility instead claiming to lured.

        • Diane Dimond on March 20, 2017 at 8:59 pm

          DD replies to Drew:

          Diane Dimond that’s where you’re wrong. maybe you didn’t read the two columns carefully. Mark takes complete responsibility, admits he is ashamed, after 7 years he has “learned his lesson” and he struggles to understand fully what drove him to child porn. Look, we just see this man’s story differently. It is okay to disagree.

  5. Diane Dimond on March 21, 2017 at 1:00 am

    Reader Anonymous writes:

    So I recently read the story about Mark B or Captain Shipwreck and I want to tell you that yes someone indeed can be addicted to porn. I my self had a similar situation that went on from about 1999 to 2004 when I was caught by the Fed’s. In my story though I was only purchasing it thru a party out of Kansas City. That person was busted and I, like many others had our information obtained and the Fed’s set up a dying operation thru the postal system to catch me. They caught me on February 26th,2004. They came to my house with a federal search warrant looking to find all kinds of child porn but none was found because the computer that was used was owned by my parents and at their house. The Fed’s were given that info but because it was in another county they declined to get it because it would of required another warrant. So all they had on me were 3 videos of a 15 year old girl that were un-opened. I admitted to them I had a problem and took full responsibility. I knew I had a problem. That is where the nightmare really began. The Fed’s after reviewing my case declined to prosecute me but they waited until February of 2007 to decide that. I was sentenced in a county court on January 2nd, 2008 to 5 years probation and 10 years Megan’s Law. I lost my job. I had to quit the volunteer fire company I was in. By the time I was sentenced I had a new job and once they found out the harrassment almost ended me. But the real kick in the butt was in December of 2012 the state of PA enacted the enhanced SORNA which in essence made all sex offenders receive a different classification to which they added an additional 5 years of registration to me without ever hitting a court room. That completely violated the constitution under the “Ex Post Facto” section which says once your are sentenced you can not be re sentenced. Lawsuits have been filed but to no avail because the courts claim it is “civil” rather than “punitive” but violate it and you will see just how “punitive” it is.. But there is hope. Thomas Reed of Clearfield,Pa was arrested in 2002 for relations with a teen girl. He was arrested and given 1 year in jail in addition to 10 years Megan’s Law. They wanted to give him a lifetime registration but he called for a Megan’s Law hearing. Those hearings are in a court room with a judge, numerous physcologists and law enforcement experts testifying about whether they feel he would re offend. At that hearing he was determined not to be a sexually violent predator and given 10 years registration. Imagine to his surprise that in 2012 ,him, like me was re-sentenced to a life time registration again without ever seeing the inside of a court. His case is now in front of the PA supreme court and it sounds like he may win. I hope so because this is a far reaching law.

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