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Thursday, September 29, 2011

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District Man Found Guilty of Child Sexual Abuse

     WASHINGTON - Brian Claros, 26, of Washington, D.C., has been convicted by a jury of sexually abusing a young girl, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced today.

     Claros was convicted 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 is scheduled to be sentenced on November 30, 2011, before the Honorable Gerald I. Fisher. Pursuant to the voluntary sentencing guidelines, he is facing a likely sentencing range of 102 to 288 months in prison on each of the child sexual abuse counts, and 10 to 42 months in prison on the enticing counts.

     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 intends to retry Claros as to those counts for which the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

     In announcing the jury’s verdict, 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 praised 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 commended the work 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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