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NEW: Former Arlington Aquatic Club board president faces trial for child pornography charges

Pool at the Long Bridge Park Aquatics & Fitness Center (staff photo)

(Updated at 8:20 p.m.) A former board president of Arlington Aquatic Club is set to go to trial next year for child pornography and sexual coercion charges, according to court documents.

Mark Black, who is about to turn 50, according to public records, was arraigned in federal court last week. A trial date was set for Feb. 27, 2024.

Earlier this month, a grand jury returned an indictment charging Black with six counts of creating, advertising, distributing and receiving child pornography between 2018 and 2023.

His alleged crimes date back to January 2018 and continued up to June of this year, when, according to court documents, he was allegedly found in possession of child pornography, including at least one depiction involving a minor not yet 12 years old.

According to these charges, in July 2019, he coerced one victim, identified as “Victim 1,” to “engage in sexually explicit conduct” to produce child pornography.

He also faces a seventh charge of coercing a minor to engage in sexual activity to create child pornography, after allegedly coercing and enticing a second child victim to engage in sexual activity for this purpose between April 2022 and April 2023.

“He faces a mandatory minimum term of 15 to 30 years for conspiracy to produce child pornography,” a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia told ARLnow this evening, after publication.

He also faces “15 to 30 years for conspiracy to advertise child pornography, 15 to 30 years for production of child pornography, 10 to life for coercion and enticement, and 5 to 20 for both receipt and distribution,” she continued.

The average sentence on federal child pornography charges in fiscal year 2022 was 110 months, or just over nine years, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Trafficking child pornography typically carries longer sentences than reception or possession.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia filed an indictment against Black on Sept. 14, 2023. He was taken into custody at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria the next day, according to court documents.

Later that month, swimming news outlet SwimSwam reported that Black was suspended indefinitely by the U.S. Center for SafeSport and USA Swimming “for unspecified allegations of misconduct.”

The outlet had previously reported Black was entered into SafeSport’s disciplinary database, around the same time he was allegedly found in possession of child pornography.

Black was prepared to enter a plea agreement for the first count, Conspiracy to Produce Child Pornography, however “the Court indicated that the plea would not be accepted at this time,” per court documents.

Neither the Arlington Aquatic Club (AAC) — an elite swimming program notable for producing a Tokyo Olympian two summers ago — nor the U.S. Attorney’s Office could be reached before deadline.

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