Air Force colonel with child pornography conviction to be booted from service

By ROSE L. THAYER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 9, 2019

An Air Force colonel who pleaded guilty to child pornography charges in federal court last week will also receive an administrative discharge from the military, service officials confirmed Wednesday.

Col. Mark Visconi, a 48-year-old special operations pilot, admitted to receiving the images and videos of minors through an anonymous web browser between November 2015 and June 2016, according to court documents filed in the Eastern District of Virginia. He was charged in August while working at the Pentagon and now awaits sentencing.

“Crimes such as the ones Col. Visconi was convicted of are incompatible with military service and members who commit these offenses are subject to discharge for misconduct,” said Capt. Carrie Volpe, an Air Force spokeswoman. “The presence in the military environment of persons who commit crimes such as this undermines the ability of our members to work effectively as a team, impairs the readiness of our force, and significantly detracts from accomplishing the military mission.”

Visconi is not likely to face additional military charges at this time, she said.

“Absent extenuating circumstances, the Air Force typically does not prosecute military members at a court-martial for the same conduct that is successfully prosecuted in state or federal court,” Volpe said.

Instead, Visconi’s command plans to conduct an administrative discharge, because of the conviction.

Though not considered pornography, Visconi also admitted in his plea agreement to using his cell phone to create more than 440 pictures focused on the clothed buttocks of minor girls, according to court documents. In some of the photos, Visconi appeared to take “upskirting” images of some of the girls, who did not appear to know that photos were being taken.

Sentencing for Visconi is scheduled Jan. 31 with U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III of the Eastern District of Virginia. Visconi faces five to 20 years in prison and must register as a sex offender, according to court documents.

Visconi, a 1993 graduate of the Air Force Academy, most recently served as the chief of the Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force at the Pentagon, according to his service record.

His decorations in his service record include two Bronze Star medals, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, two Meritorious Service Medals, seven Air Medals, two Air Force Commendation Medals and the Aerial Achievement Medal.

Twitter: @Rose_Lori