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York County man sentenced to prison for charges of sexual exploitation of minors and voyeurism

Mark Steven Ehrnschwender pleaded guilty to charges on June 21 and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Credit: (Associated Press)
(File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A York County man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the sexual exploitation of minors and voyeurism, according to a news release from the South Carolina Attorney General's Office.

Mark Steven Ehrnschwender pleaded guilty on Monday, June 21, to one count of 2nd-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, one count of 3rd-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, and four counts of voyeurism.  

The office says on September 17, 2018, investigator Kevin Atkins conducted an investigation into the use of a file-sharing program that was being used for the distribution and possession of child sexual abuse material. A user reported;y sent sexually explicit files involving children to the investigator. Inv. Atkins traced the person sharing the material to a residence located in York County, and he forwarded the information to Investigator Alex Clark with the York County Sheriff’s Office. 

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On October 9, 2018, officials said Clark executed a search warrant at Ehrnschwender's home. At that time, Clark seized a number of computer and digital-related devices and they were later examined by law enforcement. Inv. Chris Bomar with the South Carolina Attorney General’s office located more than 500 photos and about 8,900 videos of child sexual abuse material on these devices.  

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While reviewing the computer-related devices, law enforcement also uncovered more than 7,500 voyeuristic videos that Ehrnschwender recorded. According to the release, the investigation showed Ehrschwender had placed hidden cameras in the bathrooms of his house and he secretly recorded friends and family members over at least an eight-year span. 

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In all, Ehrnschwender recorded 19 different people, including minors, without their consent, according to court documents. 

Ehrnschwender was sentenced to 10 years on the 2nd-degree sexual exploitation charge, to be followed by a sentence of 10 years on the 3rd-degree charge. He also received three years on each of the voyeurism charges, to run concurrently with the 20 years on the other charges. 

He also had to forfeit his computer and digital devices and will have to register as a sex offender.  

Note: WCNC instituted a new policy in March 2021 regarding the broadcast or posting of mugshots.

WCNC will only air or post a mugshot if the person has been formally charged with a crime and in a few other cases. The exceptions include: If it appears the person could be a danger to themselves or others or if they are wanted by authorities; to differentiate between people with a common name; if the photos could encourage more victims to come forward. The news-editorial leadership may also decide to use a mugshot based on the severity of the crime(s) committed and/or the level of public interest in the crime and ensuing criminal proceedings.

Because the suspect is sentenced and the investigation has concluded, his mugshot is not being shown.