Local man faces child sexual abuse charges

Published 9:04 am Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mark Gwaltney

Mark Gwaltney

Police arrested a Carter County man on Saturday after a teenager who borrowed the man’s iPod reported finding child pornography, involving her infant half-brother, on the electronic device.
Officers of the Carter County Sheriff’s Department arrested Mark Alan Gwaltney, 50, of 232 Happy Valley Road, Johnson City, on Saturday and charged him with two counts of aggravated rape of a child, two counts of aggravated sexual battery and six counts of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor.
On Saturday, CCSD Deputy Paul Morrell went to a home in the Happy Valley community after a man called 911 and asked to meet with an officer. The man told Morrell that he and his girlfriend live in a home owned by Gwaltney along with their 8-month-old son and his girlfriend’s teenage daughter.
Earlier that day, the man told Morrell, the teenage girl asked Gwaltney if she could borrow his iPod and the man allowed her to use it.
Upon using the iPod, she found several videos and photos depicting Gwaltney engaging in sexual acts with the 8-month-old boy, Morrell said. The girl then used her cell phone to make a second hand recording of the videos and photos and then showed them to her mother and the mother’s boyfriend, who then called police.
After Morrell saw the videos captured by the teenager, Morrell contacted CCSD Deputy Chief Investigator Mike Little and asked him to come to the home to investigate the matter.
After viewing the videos, Little learned Gwaltney was in Johnson City and asked officers of the Johnson City Police Department to pick him up and detain him.
A short time later, Gwaltney was located and was in possession of an iPod matching the description given by the teenager.
“Upon bringing Gwaltney to the Carter County Sheriff’s Department, I spoke with him briefly, but, upon questioning, Gwaltney invoked his Miranda Rights and all questioning ceased,” Little said.
Little then obtained two search warrants – one to search the vehicle Gwaltney was driving and one to search the contents of the iPod.
“Upon inspection of the iPod, pursuant to the search warrant, I discovered five videos within the iPod which had been deleted which depicted Gwaltney engaging in various sexual acts with the eight month old,” Little said.
Gwaltney appeared in Carter County General Sessions Court on Monday, where he was arraigned on the charges against him.
Judge Keith Bowers set Gwaltney’s bond at $250,000 and scheduled him to return to court on Dec. 7.

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