Former New York City Correction Department Investigator Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Transporting, Receiving and Possessing Child Pornography
Earlier today, an investigator with the New York City Correction Department was sentenced to 120 months in prison at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York following his March 5 jury trial conviction on seven counts of transportation, receipt and possession of child pornography involving conduct at his East Meadow, New York residence.
Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue for the Eastern District of New York and Special Agent-in-Charge Angel M. Melendez of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) New York, made the announcement.
Fernando Clarke, 64, of East Meadow, New York, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Arthur D. Spatt, who also ordered him to pay a $13, 682.43 fine and serve a five year term of supervised release to follow his prison sentence, during which time he must register as a sex offender and will not be allowed unsupervised contact with minors.
“For years, and while entrusted to serve and protect society, Fernando Clarke compiled and shared thousands of images and videos of children being sexually abused and exploited,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan. “With every horrific file Clarke downloaded or shared with others, he compounded the unspeakable harm endured by these vulnerable victims. Thanks to the outstanding efforts of our dedicated law enforcement partners and federal prosecutors, Clarke is now being held accountable for his crimes.”
“As the trial established, Clarke collected child pornography at his home for years, using a peer-to-peer file sharing system that allowed others to download child pornography from him,” said U.S. Attorney Donoghue. “When his crimes came to light, Clarke lied and attempted to hide behind his badge, claiming that he had accessed child pornography for his job as an investigator for the New York City Department of Correction. This Office is committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting consumers of child pornography.”
“Individuals who take pleasure in watching videos and photos of children being sexually exploited should learn from the outcome of this case that we will find you and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law, no matter who you are,” said Angel Melendez, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York. “The fact that this individual used his law enforcement status to try to shield his crimes is particularly heinous, and a betrayal of all we stand for in protecting the children in our communities. But his knowledge of online sharing systems and assumption he could go undetected was undone by the excellent investigative team in this case.”
According to court filings and evidence introduced at trial, over several years Clarke downloaded thousands of video files of the sexual abuse of pre-teen children, including sadistic material, which he kept on computer equipment in his home. Clarke knew that these video files, some of which he watched repeatedly, also were available on his computers for others to download. During a court-ordered search of his home on July 28, 2015, Clarke initially claimed that he was downloading child pornography in connection with his employment as a Correction Department investigator. Clarke admitted at the time of the search that he was not authorized to access or download child pornography for his employment. Clarke was arrested at the time of the search and subsequently fired from the Department of Correction after his conviction.
The New York City Department of Investigation, Inspector General, Board of Correction, and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and High Technology Investigative Unit assisted in the investigation. The government’s case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Lauren Kupersmith of the Criminal Division’s CEOS and Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen L. Bode of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Long Island Criminal Division.