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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

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District Man Sentenced to More Than 40 Years in Prison
For Child Sexual Abuse
- Victim Came Forward Several Years After Abuse -

     WASHINGTON - Brian Claros, 26, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to a prison term of 41 years and eight months following his recent conviction by a jury of sexually abusing a young girl, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

     Claros was convicted in September 2011, following a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, of three counts of first degree child sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances and two counts of enticing a child with aggravating circumstances. He was sentenced by the Honorable Gerald I. Fisher. Upon completion of his prison term, Claros will be placed on a lifetime of supervised release. In addition, Judge Fisher ordered that Claros register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

     The evidence at trial established that, from 2003 through 2006, Claros sexually abused the young child victim repeatedly in Washington, D.C. and Maryland, when she was between the ages of 10 and 13. Although most instances of sexual abuse occurred in Maryland, the first and last incidents of sexual abuse occurred in Washington, D.C. Over time, Claros repeatedly abused and enticed the child, who was the younger cousin of his girlfriend at the time.

     Years after the abuse, Claros sent numerous online messages to the victim in which he made admissions about the sexual abuse and the psychological tactics that he had employed in obtaining her compliance with his sexual demands.

     The victim’s disclosure came about after the defendant was arrested in August 2010, relating to reports that he had sexually abused two additional child victims with whom he had been living in 2010. Evidence relating to Claros’s sexual abuse of these other victims also was presented at trial. However, the jury reported on September 28, 2011 that it was unable to reach a unanimous verdict as to those additional counts.

     The government’s investigation also revealed evidence of the defendant’s chronic sexual abuse of another young girl, a 9-year-old relative, in the latter part of 2000, although evidence relating to the repeated abuse of that particular victim was not admitted at trial. In imposing his sentence, the judge took into account the evidence of Claros’s sexual abuse of the other victims in evaluating the defendant’s dangerousness. Before imposing the sentence, Judge Fisher declared that the defendant was an “incredible danger” to young girls and to women, and he called the defendant “a sexual predator, in some ways, in the worst sense of the word.”

     In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen commended lead Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Detectives Stephanie Garner and Maria Flores, who both did an exemplary job investigating the case and working with the victims and other witnesses. He also praised the outstanding assistance of MPD Detectives Scott Dowling and Sean Crowley, Mobile Crime Technicians Ivan Singleton and Keith Slaughter, and Officers Ralph Barnhardt, Ricardo Carrion and Sheree Prince. He also praised the work of Child Forensic Interviewers Karen Giannakoulias and Tracy Owusu. U.S. Attorney Machen also commended the work of Investigator John Marsh from the Criminal Investigations Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, who conducted forensic analysis on the computer, cell phone and online social media evidence. He also acknowledged the efforts of Paralegals Kristy Penny and Jason Manuel, Legal Assistant Nicole Lee, Intelligence Analysts Larry Grasso, Sharon Johnson, and Bill Hamann, Victim/Witness Assistance Unit Staff LaJune Thames, legal intern Jamie Picard and Litigation Technology Specialist Tracy Van Atta, all of whom provided critical and invaluable support in preparing for trial. Finally, U.S. Attorney Machen expressed his special appreciation to Victim/Witness Advocates Melissa Milam and Tracey Hawkins, and former Victim/Witness Advocate Iris Vega, who worked closely with the victims, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Last and HelenAnne Listerman, who investigated and prosecuted this case.






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