On Thursday, May 11, 2023, the following press release was issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of Tennessee.
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. –On May 11, 2023, Mark Deakins, 63, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was convicted at trial before the Honorable Charles E. Atchley, Jr., United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga, of multiple charges involving the sexual abuse of minors.
The defendant was found guilty of these offenses, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2421, 2251(a), 2252A(a)(5)(B) and (b)(2), and 2260A, following a trial in U.S. District Court. According to evidence presented at trial, for over 20 years, Deakins raped and sexually assaulted numerous pre-teen and teen boys from 1995 to 2018 in various locations in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area. He also transported a victim across state lines to engage in illegal sexual exploitation and abuse. Deakins secretly recorded his crimes, and the number of child sexual abuse videos and images he possessed numbered in the thousands. After law enforcement agents executed search warrants on his home and computers, they found these images and videos as well as thousands of images of other child sexual abuse material from all over the world.
Deakins committed these crimes while already on the Sex Offender Registry for past convictions.
Sentencing has been scheduled for September 28, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. The defendant faces a mandatory minimum prison term of 45 years and a maximum term of life in prison.
United States Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III said, “The defendant’s conduct was egregious. He preyed on young boys desperate for a male role model. I am thankful for the collaborative effort and hard work of our federal, state, and local law enforcement officers and our prosecutors for seeking justice in this appalling case.”
F.B.I. Special Agent in Charge Joseph E. Carrico said, “Children are among the most vulnerable members of our community. The FBI along with our local, state, and federal partners will continue to meticulously investigate these crimes, which cause irreparable harm and trauma to the victims.”
Law enforcement agencies participating in the joint investigation which led to indictment and subsequent conviction of Mark Deakins included the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Marshals Service, Red Bank Police Department, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Chattanooga Police Department, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys James Brooks and Steven S. Neff represented the United States.
This case was investigated as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), 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 Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC 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 PSC, please visit www.justice.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, click on the link for “Publications & Resources.”