It was among the oddest email requests I ever got. It said: “Please visit: MyShipwreck.com. The blog will either interest you or not.” I was instantly fascinated with the postings from someone calling himself Captain Shipwreck.
The man behind the blog is Mark B., and he’s currently serving a 17½-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institute at Loretto, Pa., on charges of possessing and distributing child pornography.
He fully admits he is guilty of consuming and stockpiling porn — a lot of it — but denies he ever distributed porn and says he pleaded guilty only because his lawyer convinced him he could get life in prison if he didn’t take a plea agreement.
His backstory: A white man raised along Florida’s southeastern beaches, Mark was 52 years old when arrested. He had no police record and was, by all accounts, a hardworking married man with two young children.
Why consume and save such revolting images?
“Too much free time, boredom and curiosity,” he said during one of our calls. “I’m a fisherman by trade. It was, like, cast your net out there, and see what you can find.”
Might it have been a by-product of the molestation he suffered as an 8- and 9-year-old at the hands of the family priest, as his sister suggests? Mark doesn’t think so.
Mark told me he was actually relieved when FBI agents took him into custody. It wasn’t because he feared he might harm a child someday (his two children both told various therapists nothing happened with Daddy — ever). Rather, he said, it had become too big a burden in his life.
As he put it, “I think I was more addicted than a heroin addict.”
Back when the judge announced his sentence, many saw it as particularly harsh. Mark remembers: “One statement that the judge (said) … sticks out in my head as being true and to the point. I put myself here.”
Now, he says, he’s concentrating on rehabilitation and forgiving himself for spending so much time doing what he knew was morally wrong.