HAMMOND | A man caught up in a Purdue University police sting targeting Internet pedophiles received the maximum 10-year sentence Thursday in U.S. District Court.
Senior Judge James T. Moody sentenced Mark Ciesiolka, of Columbus, Ind., on a federal charge of attempted transmission of obscene material to a minor. Ciesiolka pleaded guilty to the charge after winning a new trial on appeal of his original conviction in an online child sex enticement case.
As part of the Purdue investigation, an officer claiming to be 13-year-old “Ashley” chatted online for more than two weeks with Ciesiolka during August 2006. While the officer told Ciesiolka she was 13, her Yahoo profile showed a photo of a woman in her late 20s, according to court records. When Ciesiolka asked her for a photo, she sent an image of herself, to which he responded that she looked like she was 21. A planned meeting between Ciesiolka and the officer never materialized.
The evidence against Ciesiolka included more than 100 images of alleged child pornography found on his computer and testimony from a woman who claimed he had sex with her several times while she was 15.
Ciesiolka was found guilty of child enticement, but a U.S. federal appeals court judge ruled the police sting was marred by numerous oddities and granted Ciesiolka a new trial. The appeals court ruled the U.S. District Court in Hammond erred in giving jurors “the ostrich instruction"; jurors were told that if a person (Ciesiolka) had a strong suspicion something was not as it seemed, they could determine the person was negligent in not discovering the truth.
Ciesiolka's 10-year sentence is shorter than the 25-year sentence he received after his initial trial.