Gwaltney gets 93 year sentence in rape of a child

John Thompson • Updated Sep 13, 2017 at 7:13 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Mark Alan Gwaltney, 51, was sentenced to 93 years in prison during his sentencing hearing before Jude Lisa Rice on Wednesday.

Gwaltney had pleaded guilty in May to two counts of aggravated rape of a child, five counts of especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of aggravated sexual battery.

All of these charges were said to have occurred around in October 2015 with a child who was 8 months old at the time. In another charge not involving the child, Gwaltney pleaded guilty to solicitating sexual exploitation of a minor.

Rice ordered Gwaltney to serve 45 years each on the two aggravated rape of a child charges, to be served consecutively and that 100 percent of the sentence must be served. Rice also ordered Gwaltney to serve three years consecutive to the 90-year sentence on the solicitating sexual exploitation of a minor. Sentencing laws will require he serve 30 percent of that sentence before he is eligible for parole.

Rice ordered Gwaltney to serve 10 years on each of the remaining six charges, all to be served concurrently with the 45-year sentences.

The charges stem from videos and photographs Gwaltney allegedly made with an iPod. The images allegedly showed him engaging in sexual acts with the 8-month-old child. Investigators with the Carter County Sheriff's Department said these images were accidentally discovered by the victim's minor sister. Investigators said she asked Gwaltney if she could use his iPod and discovered the images. She showed the images to her parents.

After Gwaltney's guilty plea, District Attorney General Tony Clark filed a motion with the court seeking to have Gwaltney's sentences run consecutively.

The state argued that Gwaltney abused a position of trust in order to commit the acts. The case of Tenn. vs. Kissinger (1996) was cited, in which the defendant "thrust himself into a position of trust with a vulnerable family and abused the relationship."

The state argued that the Gwaltney case was similar in that he had "inserted himself into a position of trust with the victim's family by virtue of giving them a temporary place to live." The state said Gwaltney abused that relationship by getting the family to allow him to babysit the infant. and "rushed to abuse the infant victim during the relatively short period that he was left alone with the child."

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