WXPN Volunteer Photographer Charged With Child Pornography

If convicted on all charges, Mark Wilkens faces at least 15 years in prison.

WXPN volunteer photographer Mark Wilkens.

WXPN volunteer photographer Mark Wilkens.

A 57-year-old Philadelphia man, Mark Wilkens, has been charged with manufacturing and possessing child pornography. According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia, he captured sexually explicit images of prepubescent children at WXPN events where he was a volunteer photographer.

According to the indictment of Wilkens, the dates of the incidents occurred between August 2010 and July 4, 2015. The indictment alleges that the incidents occurred at Morris Arboretum, the Camden Children’s Garden, the Franklin Institute and 6500 Rising Sun Avenue. It is unclear if he was volunteering as a WXPN photographer in every case.

Wilkens is also accused of possessing sexually explicit images of kids.

Wilkens was arrested on Friday morning. He faces five counts of manufacturing and attempting to manufacture child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. If convicted of all of them, he would face at least 15 years in prison. Prosecutors say that the sentencing guidelines could call for between 17 and 22 years behind bars.

Authorities have also ordered Wilkens to forfeit photography equipment, storage devices, photos, posters and videos of minors, and children’s clothing.

The investigation was conducted as part of Project Safe Childhood, which pairs local police with the federal government to stop the exploitation and abuse of children.

Wilkens can be seen at a WXPN event in an online photo. He is credited with taking at least one staff photo and another photo from a WXPN event that have appeared on other sites.

WXPN released the following statement to Philadelphia:We were shocked and appalled to learn that a  photographer who volunteered at WXPN from time to time has been charged with this crime. We have taken this matter extremely seriously and have worked diligently to assist the police with the investigation.”

The full indictment appears below.

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